Men’s basketball drops third straight conference game

Mens basketball drops third straight conference game

By Tyler Dixon

Despite having a lead in the final 10 minutes, the Salukis could not get out of the woods against the Bears of Missouri State.

Missouri State University (14-6, 4-4) entered the game without sophomore standout Marcus Marshall but was still able to win 69-63 while wearing down SIU (6-16, 2-6) as all five Saluki starters played at least 30 minutes.

Three freshmen were in the starting line-up with Tyler Smithpeters and Bola Olaniyan getting their first career starts.

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Smithpeters played 20 minutes in the loss Wednesday scoring 12 points and hitting two 3-pointers. Smithpeters led the Salukis in scoring for most of the game against the Bears until a dunk by senior Desmar Jackson with 3:30 helped Jackson finish with 18.

The Salukis were 6-14 from beyond the 3-point line against Missouri State with four of them coming from the hands of Smithpeters who finished with 16 points, a new career high. Smithpeters added four rebounds and five assists while only committing one turnover. For the first time in the past few games, the Saluki with the most minutes was not Jackson, as he played 32 minutes while Smithpeters played 35.

Freshman forward Sean O’Brien was the other freshman starter for the Salukis. He finished with six points and four rebounds but committed three turnovers.

Apart from Missouri State forward Jarmar Gulley scoring 17 points and hauling in 11 rebounds, the key for the Bears was freshman Austin Ruder. Ruder scored 12 points with all of them coming from beyond the arc.

Hinson said his team lost its legs toward the end of the game but they knew who the key shooter would be for Missouri State.

“We played all five starters’ 30-plus minutes and we ran out of gas,” Hinson said. “I burned every timeout I had to rest our guys. We had huge breakdowns defensively. It’s not like we don’t know [Ruder] can shoot.”

Olaniyan scored the first four points for the Salukis and finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Olaniyan was the only SIU player to finish with a positive plus/minus. Plus/minus keeps track of a team’s performance based on the player on the court. For example, if Olaniyan entered the game while the score was tied 46-46 and when he left the game the score was 52-46 in favor of the Salukis, his plus/minus would be six.

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The free-throw line is still a sore spot for SIU. The team was 11-18 from the line while the starters were 9-13.

After Jackson’s 18 point effort, he is now third all-time in scoring for a two-year career at SIU. Jackson now has 888 points and passed Saluki and NBA great Walt Frazier in the loss to the Bears.

The Salukis will welcome Indiana State University to SIU Arena Wednesday. The Sycamores currently have five players averaging double figures and are led by senior Jake Odum. Odum was an All-Missouri Valley Conference performer last season, the first Indiana State player to be named to the team since 2001.

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