Salukis head to semi-finals

By Tyler Dixon

After a season of twists and turns, the Salukis have a chance to play Sunday for the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.

In the rubber game of the season series, the six seed Salukis were able to knock off the third seeded University of Northern Iowa Panthers 62-58.

Senior Desmar Jackson led all scorers with 23 points, 20 coming in the first half. Jackson added 10 rebounds for a double double while sophomore Anthony Beane added 16 points. Dating back to last season, Jackson has scored at least 10 points in 35 straight games.


Jackson finished with six steals which were the most in the MVC Tournament since 2006.

The Salukis won the opening tip and Jackson scored quickly, he said that’s when he knew it was going to be a good night for him.

“I hit my first shot,” Jackson said. “That’s always good, that got me going right there.”

The Dawgs went into half time with a 36-18 lead.

Coach Barry Hinson said it was the best basketball played under his leadership he’s ever seen.

“Guys, I’ve been in this tournament a lot,” Hinson said. “That’s the best first half of basketball that I’ve ever coached.”

UNI wasn’t happy being outscored by Jackson in the first half and came out on fire in the second.


Panther junior forward Seth Tuttle had a huge game with 15 points and 17 rebounds.

Beane said the game plan going in was to try and stop Tuttle.

“We wanted to make sure we’re clogging up the lane for Tuttle because he’s so good around the basket,” he said.

A key moment late in the second half came was when Jackson tracked down a full-court baseball pass, and as he was running out of bounds saved the ball and threw it behind him. The pass went perfectly into Beane’s hands and he laid in the contested layup.

“I really didn’t see Anthony, I was trying to knock the ball off the guy who was guarding me,” Jackson said. “It barely missed him, and it was right there, luckily.”

The Panthers outscored SIU 40-27 in the second half and even tied the game at 52 before the Salukis went on an 11-5 run to end the game.

After every Saluki home game, Hinson is asked if his team has turned the corner. He said they are on their way now.

“I think Saluki basketball is trying to turn the corner,” Hinson said. “I’m not going to get overly optimistic because, to me, you just got to find a way to continue to get better.”

The Salukis will play the Indiana State Sycamores at 4 p.m. for a spot in the MVC Championship to be played Sunday at 1 p.m. SIU beat the Sycamores at home but fell in Terre Haute, Ind.

The Sycamores beat Loyola University-Chicago 75-62 in the third quarterfinal game. Indiana State was led by senior Jake Odum who finished with 18 points and four rebounds.

Hinson said Indiana State has all the intangibles good teams have along with a great player.

“Classic game, great coach, good players, the poster boy for Amish basketball, Jake Odum, my favorite player in the league,” Hinson said. “I love that kid, I love him.”

Tyler Dixon can be reached at [email protected] or @tdixon_de on Twitter.