Indiana State (16-4) at Southern Illinois (6-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 29, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,339) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: WTWO, WSIU, ESPN3. Home Record: ISU 8-0, SIU 4-5. Away Record: ISU 7-3, SIU 1-8. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, SIU 1-2. Conference Record: ISU 7-1, SIU 2-8. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 79-43.
GAME NOTES: The Indiana State Sycamores have made the trek to Carbondale to take on the Southern Illinois Salukis in a Missouri Valley Conference battle on Wednesday night.
Indiana State comes into this contest having won its last two and nine of its last 10 overall. Last Saturday, the Sycamores downed Illinois State at home, 76-62.
The Salukis weren't as lucky on Saturday, as they fell to Missouri State in a 69-63 final. That was the third loss in a row for Southern Illinois, and its fourth defeat in the last five contests.
Manny Arop scored 14 points to go with eight rebounds, as the Sycamores easily defeated the Illinois State Redbirds over the weekend. Dawon Cummings added 14 points, while Khristian Smith had 12 for the victors. Jake Odum and Justin Gant tallied 10 points apiece, with Odum adding five assists. Indiana State drained 58.3 percent of its shots from the floor in the first half, including 7-of-11 from beyond the arc, as it took a 40-29 lead into halftime. They would lead by as many as 20 points in the second period as they shot an impressive 52.4 percent from 3-point range, compared to Illinois State's dismal 21.1 percent effort.
Indiana State features a balanced scoring attack, with five players averaging in double figures. Odum leads the Sycamores in scoring this season with 12.4 ppg on 42.6 percent shooting. Odum also tops the team with 98 assists, second- best in the league, to go along with 28 steals. Arop isn't far behind Odum's average at 11.5 ppg on 46.7 percent shooting. Cummings (11.3 ppg), Smith (10.9 ppg) and Gant (10.7) round out the club's offensive weapons. The Sycamores average 74.7 ppg on 47.5 percent field goal efficiency, both good for second in the MVC, and they are holding opposing teams to 67.7 ppg on 44.2 percent shooting from the field.
Desmar Jackson led the Salukis in the loss to Missouri State with a game-high 18 points, while Tyler Smithpeters scored 16 and Anthony Beane finished with 11. After a close first half, both teams got hot from the field in the second. The Bears connected on 57.9 percent of their field goal tries and the Salukis hit on 60 percent. Leading 51-48 with under nine minutes to play, the Salukis allowed the Bears to go a 8-0 run that put them ahead for good.
The Salukis are one of the weaker offensive teams in the conference. They are only netting 66.7 ppg, which ranks second to last in the league, although they are fourth in the MVC in field goal percentage (.462). Jackson (20.0 ppg) has done all he can to keep his squad competitive on the scoreboard. He is second in the league in scoring, and he has reached double figures in every game this season, including eight 20-point efforts. Anthony Beane (10.9 ppg) and Jalen Pendleton (10.4 ppg) are the next most productive scorers, while O'Brien (7.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) leads the way on the glass.
The Sycamores have a high-powered offense and despite the efforts of Desmar Jackson, the Salukis do not. Expect the visitors to continue their strong play and hand Southern Illinois its fourth straight defeat.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 78, Southern Illinois 64
01/29 10:32:03 ET