Southern Illinois (4-8) at Miami-Ohio (3-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 29, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Millet Hall (9,200) -- Oxford, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: SIU 3-2, Miami 2-1. Away Record: SIU 0-4, Miami 1-5. Neutral Record: SIU 1-2, Miami 0-0. Conference Record: SIU 0-0, Miami 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Illinois Salukis will attempt to extend their winning streak to three games on Sunday afternoon, as they venture to Millet Hall for a non-conference bout versus the Miami-Ohio RedHawks.
The season as a whole has not gone SIU's way, as it has lost twice as many games as it has won (4-8), which includes an 0-4 record on the road, but it has been playing its best basketball of the campaign lately with back-to-back wins. After taking down Ball State on Dec. 21 (66-58), the Salukis easily handled SIU Edwardsville on Dec. 23, 74-57.
Much like SIU, Miami-Ohio has not fared well this season, sitting with a 3-6 ledger, but it has also shown improvement in recent weeks. The RedHawks have won three of their last five games, including a 79-64 triumph at Tennessee State on Dec. 21.
These two teams squared off on Feb. 23 of last season, with SIU coming away with a 74-68 overtime victory on its home floor to tie the all-time series up at 1-1.
The Salukis had arguably their most impressive all-around performance of the season in their latest game. Not only did they shoot a lofty 60 percent from the field, but they held SIUE to just 31.4 percent shooting and won the rebounding battle by a convincing 36-27 margin en route to 17-point victory. Jalen Pendleton provided a huge boost off the bench, shooting 10-of-15 from the floor for 20 points. Desmar Jackson flirted with a triple-double, posting 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Marcus Fillyaw added 11 points.
On the season, SIU consistently shoots a better percentage from the floor (.475) than its opponents (.420), but it still only scores 69.6 points per game while allowing 69.1. It has been virtually non-existent from 3-point territory, making less than four long-range buckets per game. Jackson is the unquestioned catalyst, pouring in 20.3 points per game on 47.6 percent from the field and 78.4 percent from the foul line. Pendleton (12.3 ppg) and Anthony Boone (11.8 ppg) are also consistent contributors.
Miami-Ohio hit the road in its latest matchup and took it to Tennessee State, outshooting its opponent from the field, 56.5 percent to 38.3 percent, while also piecing together a strong 22-of-28 showing from the free-throw line in the dominating 15-point victory. Will Sullivan was on fire on the afternoon, shooting 8-of-12 from the floor on his way to 21 points. Will Felder tallied 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, Jaryd Eustace netted 13 points off the bench and Joshua Oswald put up 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Unfortunately for the RedHawks, they have not been able to sustain success this season. They make good on just 42.3 percent of their field goal tries for 64.7 points per game, which is 8.7 fewer points than they allow on the other end of the floor. They also live in the red in terms of their rebounding (-2.4) and turnover (-0.4) margins. Felder paces the squad from the frontcourt, posting team highs in both scoring (13.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg). Reggie Johnson (11.8 ppg) and Geovonie McKnight (9.9 ppg) help out as well but neither shoot greater than 42 percent from the floor.
Neither team has been a model of consistency this season, but with SIU failing to prove itself on the road so far and Miami-Ohio boasting a solid 2-1 mark at Millet Hall, the RedHawks have the advantage to win their second straight game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Ohio 72, Southern Illinois 69
12/29 10:33:17 ET