Daily Egyptian

Southern Falls in Charles Helleny Tip-Off Classic to Buffalo

By Tamar Mosby, Sports reporter

The Saluki Men’s Basketball team fell in the non-conference showdown, 62-53, against the University of Buffalo.

The game marked the inaugural Charles Helleny Tip-off Classic, honoring 1957 Saluki alumni and program donor Charles Helleny.

The matchup was the first ever meeting of the two teams and they are scheduled to meet again in Buffalo, New York later this December.

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While the Dawgs came into the game with a loss against the University of Kentucky who are currently ranked in the top 25, the Bulls entered the matchup with a win against top 25 team, West Virginia.

Buffalo is currently ranked 25 overall in the nation and was Southern’s first time hosting a top 25 team since 2007.

Head coach Barry Hinson later commented that playing two top 25 teams has made the Salukis better.

Senior center Kavion Pippen felt that playing top teams has been a lesson in patience for Southern.

“Playing those teams has taught us to be patient and make good decisions on the court,” Pippen said.

Hinson started Pippen, senior guard Sean Lloyd, junior guard Aaron Cook, senior guard Marcus Bartley, and junior guard Eric McGill.

The SIU lineup was missing last year’s leading scorer, senior guard Armon Fletcher, who sat out of the game due to injury.

“We are going to call it a bone bruise,” Hinson said. “I thought he was going to be out for the rest of the season, but the trainers are optimistic.”

The first quarter began with the Salukis on a hot scoring streak after the game was tied by a dunk from Pippen.

Pippen finished leading the team with 18 points and five rebounds winning Saluki player of the game.

SIU went on a 10-2 scoring run during this time that featured a pair of free throws and a three-pointer from Lloyd, a three-point jumper from Bartley, and a mid-range jumper from senior center Thik Bol.

Lloyd went on to finish the night with ten points and two steals.

This run put the Dawgs up 16-8 on the scoreboard against Buffalo.

The Bulls responded right back with an 8-2 scoring run to relieve the scoring drought and bring them just two points within reach of Southern.

McGill put a stop to the run by stealing the ball from Buffalo for a turnaround dunk and moments later went on to score a three-point jumper to keep the Salukis up 23-18.

McGill finished the night with seven points and three assists.

Cook continued to apply pressure to Buffalo scoring two baskets in under one minute putting the Salukis up by seven points.

Cook went on to score 11 points.

In the closing two minutes of the first half, the Bulls scored five unanswered baskets to steal the lead from SIU for the first time putting the Dawgs down 31-27 at the end of the half.

The second half started with both teams trading baskets with Southern still trailing.

Buffalo continued to extend their lead on the Salukis scoring two unanswered three-pointers that put them ahead by ten.

With SIU struggling to score, the Bulls continued to tally unanswered baskets on the board furthering their lead by seven more points with two minutes remaining in the final half.

Hinson later commented on Southern’s inability to score in the second half and lack of rebounds.

“I think the tell-tale signs of this game were our inability to score and rebounding,” Hinson said. “We were doing a good job on the boards until the very end of the game.”

In the final minute of the game, there were three-point plays from Cook and Pippen and a jumper from McGill.

These baskets were not enough to relieve the point deficit and the Dawgs lost the game 62-53.

Southern (0-2) will take its home court again this Saturday, Nov. 17 against the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Sports reporter Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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