Second half surge propels Tigers past Salukis

Second half surge propels Tigers past Salukis

By Tyler Dixon

For the first time since the 2003 NCAA tournament, the Salukis faced off against the University of Missouri Tigers and came away with the same result, a 72-59 loss.

After winning both of their exhibition games, the Salukis faced a Missouri team without its head coach. Frank Haith is serving a five-game suspension for sanctions while he was the coach at the University of Miami.

Senior guard Desmar Jackson scored the first eight points for the Salukis to start the game. Both teams exchanged leads for most of the first half. The Tigers largest lead of the half was seven points, 32-25 with 4:15 left.

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Harrisburg product, freshman guard Tyler Smithpeters scored his first point at the 8:58 mark; a 3-pointer from the corner.

With 30 seconds to go before the midway point, junior guard Dawson Verhines made a cross-court pass to junior guard Mike Balogun for a wide open 3-pointer to put the Salukis up 34-33. Missouri guard Jordan Clarkson finished the half with a layup to give the Tigers a 35-34 lead.

Jackson’s led the Salukis in points with 10 at halftime.

Missouri outscored SIU 37-25 in the second half.

The Salukis made twice as many 3-pointers in the loss than they made in both exhibition games combined. They finished 6-20 from beyond the arc.

Free throws were an issue throughout the game, as SIU missed its first five attempts from the line and was 3-9 in the game. Jackson was 1-5.

Despite Missouri’s advantage in the paint, the rebounding battle was even at 37 apiece. Sophomore guard Anthony Beane led the Salukis with five rebounds.

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Coach Barry Hinson said in the press conference after the win against William Jewel College, he would have a rotation of nine players, but 11 players logged minutes in the loss.

Dawson Verhines, who did not play in the first exhibition game, and only played five minutes in the second, finished with three points on only one shot and added four rebounds in six minutes on the court.

Fouls were a concern going into the game for SIU. Senior forward Bronson Verhines had two fouls in the first two minutes, which limited him to only 13 minutes of action. A total of 39 fouls were committed and 36 free throws were taken, 27 by the Tigers.

Jackson paced the Salukis with 17 points on 7-14 shooting and four rebounds while fellow guard Beane finished with six points and shot a dismal 3-12 from the field.

The Salukis will try to secure their first win Saturday as they welcome the St. Louis University Billikens at 7:05 p.m. at SIU Arena.

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