Perseverance a key factor in times of adversity

By Tyler Dixon

Four games into the season, the SIU men’s basketball team have already had key injuries and continue to struggle with free throw and 3-point shooting.

However, if the team can come together, they can contend against the top teams in the Missouri Valley Conference.

An issue that will come up all season for SIU is experience. It is something they will not be able to avoid. In coach Barry Hinson’s rotation of players, seven are playing their first season of Division I basketball.

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It is no surprise who has been the best player through the first four games for the Salukis. Senior guard Desmar Jackson is averaging 22 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game this season. He also has two double-doubles.

Jackson, along with freshman guard Marcus Fillyaw and sophomore guard Anthony Beane, average more than 30 minutes per game.

Beane had his best game of the season against Missouri University of Science and Technology on Thursday. While he only played 28 minutes, he scored 20 points. Beane’s shot selection was much more calculated than previous games.

Fillyaw was pinned with the task of leading the offense at the beginning of the season. He hass done a solid job so far averaging almost eight points a game and nearly three rebounds per contest. The assist numbers have not been there for Fillyaw, yet he leads the team with nine assists this season.

Four games into the season, the SIU men’s basketball team have already had key injuries and continue to struggle with free throw and 3-point shooting.

However, if the team can come together, they can contend against the top teams in the Missouri Valley Conference.

An issue that will come up all season for SIU is experience. It is something they will not be able to avoid. In coach Barry Hinson’s rotation of players, seven are playing their first season of Division I basketball.

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It is no surprise who has been the best player through the first four games for the Salukis. Senior guard Desmar Jackson is averaging 22 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game this season. He also has two double-doubles.

Jackson, along with freshman guard Marcus Fillyaw and sophomore guard Anthony Beane, average more than 30 minutes per game.

Beane had his best game of the season against Missouri University of Science and Technology on Thursday. While he only played 28 minutes, he scored 20 points. Beane’s shot selection was much more calculated than previous games.

Fillyaw was pinned with the task of leading the offense at the beginning of the season. He hass done a solid job so far averaging almost eight points a game and nearly three rebounds per contest. The assist numbers have not been there for Fillyaw, yet he leads the team with nine assists this season.

The Salukis don’t have a lot of depth at the point-guard position, but Hinson is looking to the future with K.C. Goodwin as his choice to redshirt this season.

Freshman guard Tyler Smithpeters has been handling the ball when Fillyaw needs a rest. Smithpeters is not a point guard; he’s a spot-up shooter. Smithpeters has had some success in the first halves of games, but in the later parts of games, teams figure out how to guard him.

Along with Fillyaw, senior forward Bronson Verhines has been a key player for the Salukis. He is leading the team in rebounds and is shooting 50 percent from the field. Unfortunately, Hinson said Salukis will be without him for about two weeks because of a severely sprained ankle.

One player continues to be the most talked about in press conferences.

Sophomore guard Jalen Pendleton is fifth on the team in minutes played per game, but is second in points at 13.3 per game. Pendleton has been the sixth man off of the bench, but with the injury to Verhines, he was named a starter prior to the Gulf Coast Showcase.

Shooting from the field has not been as much an issue for the Salukis. They are shooting 47 percent from the field as a team and six players are shooting over 50 percent.

Free-throw shooting and 3-point shooting have been a struggle. The Salukis are ranked 305th out of 351 Division I teams in 3-point shooting at 27 percent, and are ranked 309th in free-throw shooting at 61 percent.

The game against Missouri S&T was the type of game fans and players want to forget. Even though it was a win for the Salukis, it was the first game where the new foul rule was an issue with the flow of the game.

Hinson said after the victory that the rule wasn’t the officials’ fault, but the NCAA’s. He said when advertisers decide to pull their ads from TV spots, the NCAA will have to rethink the rule.

“When boosters are upset because they can’t watch Kentucky and they can only see one half of Kentucky basketball, because there were so many fouls in the first half of the first game, I think that’s when we are going to see change,” Hinson said.

In the first four games of last season, the Salukis and their opponents combined for 137 fouls and 115 free throws taken. This season, SIU and its opponents have combined for 184 fouls and 202 free throws taken.

The bracket for the Gulf Coast Showcase is favorable for the Salukis. In order to succeed, they need to play like they did against the University of Missouri and St. Louis University, not the way they played against the Governors of Austin Peay State University.

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