Illinois State (16-13) at Southern Illinois (12-18)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 4:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,339) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: CSN Chicago. Home Record: Illinois State 12-3, Southern Illinois 8-5. Away Record: Illinois State 3-9, Southern Illinois 3-11. Neutral Record: Illinois State 1-1, Southern Illinois 1-2. Conference Record: Illinois State 9-8, Southern Illinois 8-9. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 75-69.
GAME NOTES: A rare disappointing regular season for Southern Illinois comes to a close Saturday when the Salukis host Illinois State in Missouri Valley Conference action at SIU Arena.
The Salukis come in sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference with its 8-9 record in conference play. They had won two in a row before dropping an ugly 73-54 decision at Northern Iowa on Wednesday.
Anthony Beane tallied 17 points, Sean O'Brien chipped in 11 and Desmar Jackson netted 10 for SIU, which never led and shot just 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) from 3-point range.
Jackson has been one of the consistent bright spots for the Salukis this season, leading the team in scoring (18.8 ppg), assists (63) and steals (73), while matching O'Brien with a team-best 5.4 rpg. The senior guard has, however, committed 26 more turnovers than assists. Beane is second on the squad with 14.3 ppg behind a 40.2 percent shooting mark from long distance.
Illinois State, which is one game ahead of SIU in the conference standings, cruised to a 77-59 drubbing of Indiana State on Wednesday after building a 20- point lead in the first half.
Daishon Knight logged 20 points and eight rebounds, while Reggie Lynch and Zach Lofton each had 16 points in the Redbirds' home finale. Lynch also added eight boards and five blocks in the team's third win in its last four games.
Running with a smaller lineup much of the time, the Redbirds try to spread out the scoring responsibilities, which is why there are just three players putting up double figures, on the average, in conference play this season. Knight heads the list with his 12.4 ppg, but he is shooting only 35.9 percent from the floor and 29.3 percent behind the 3-point line. Bobby Hunter (11.4 ppg), who leads the squad with 52 assists and 29 steals in those outings, is also second on the unit with 4.5 rpg. Lofton has checked in with 10.3 ppg in league play.
The Salukis hold the all-time series lead, 75-69, in the long-standing MVC and intrastate rivalry. Illinois State though, has won the last four meetings and 10 of the last 14 played. The Redbirds are seeking a regular-season sweep after routing the Salukis, 66-48) at home back on Jan. 5. Expect that trend and Southern Illinois' frustrating campaign to continue.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 75, Southern Illinois 67
03/01 10:31:04 ET