Southern Illinois (3-0) at Saint Louis (2-2)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chaifetz Arena (10,600) -- Saint Louis, Missouri.
Television: None. Home Record: Southern Illinois 1-0, Saint Louis 1-1. Away
Record: Southern Illinois 2-0, Saint Louis 0-0. Neutral Record: Southern
Illinois 0-0, Saint Louis 1-1. Conference Record: Southern Illinois 0-0, Saint
Louis 0-0. Series Record: Saint Louis leads 27-24.
GAME NOTES: Fresh of its stint in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, the Saint
Louis Billikens will play host to the Southern Illinois Salukis in a non-
conference matchup at Chaifetz Arena.
The Salukis come into this game riding a three-game winning streak to open the
season. Southern Illinois' most recent victory came against instate foe SIU-
Edwardsville (71-55). Thus far the level of competition for the Salukis has
not been taxing with wins over Benedictine University-Springfield (100-62)
and New Orleans (62-55). The Salukis return home to face Fresno State in their
For a NCAA Tournament team from last season, Saint Louis is off to a rocky
start. The Billikens have split their first four games including a head-
scratching loss at home to Santa Clara. The Billikens looked a bit back to
normal during its two final games in the CBE Classic where they topped Texas
A&M in the semifinals before bowing to a nationally ranked Kansas squad in the
finals (73-59). Including this game Saint Louis will spend 10 of its next 11
games at home.
With back-to-back wins in the all-time series Saint Louis has pressed its
advantage to 27-24 against Southern Illinois. Last season in Carbondale the
Billikens laid waste to the Salukis in a 61-42 decision.
Southern Illinois fed off of 20 SIUE turnovers and shot a solid 48.1 percent
from the floor in its win over the Cougars. The Salukis were the better team
in transition scoring 14 points on the fast break and 24 off of turnovers. The
score was even closer than perhaps it should have been considering SIUE had a
23-7 edge in second chance points. Both Jeff Early (16 points, 10 rebounds)
and Desmar Jackson (12 points, 10 rebounds) had double-doubles.
Jackson was suspended in early November but has still managed to be a
consistent contributor this season scoring 11.0 points and bringing in 6.3
rebounds per game. It is Early though who has been the most imposing force on
both the glass and in terms of scoring. The 6-foot-1 guard is nearly averaging
a double-double by scoring 20.7 points, while hauling in 9.7 rebounds per
game. Anthony Beane Jr. (12.0 ppg) is another strong double figure scorer and
along with Early is also shooting better than 60 percent from the floor. That
type of shooting success has permeated the entire team with the Salukis
connecting on 55.2 percent of their shot attempts this season while scoring
81.0 points per game.
A poor offensive showing in the first half doomed Saint Louis against Kansas
on Tuesday. The Billikens had just six field goals in the first half, four of
which came from beyond the arc, and trailed 39-25 heading into the break. The
Billikens were beat up on the inside by the Jayhawks as they finished on the
end of a 32-12 difference in points in the paint. Cody Ellis was the lead
scorer in the contest, putting in 19 off the bench, while hitting three
Limiting opposing team's on the scoreboard was the key for the Billikens last
season and thus far it has continued to be. Opponents are scoring 63.8 points
per game against Saint Louis which in turn is putting in 66.8. However the
rate of success in terms of field goal percentage has been far too high for
Saint Louis as foes net 48.7 percent of their field goal attempts. Four
different players are scoring in double figures led by Dwayne Evans (14.8 ppg,
7.8 rpg) who has been a consistent force in the paint. Ellis (13.8 ppg, 5.8
rpg) and Mike McCall Jr. (11.5 ppg) are each scoring well also with Ellis
making his contributions off the bench. Running the show is Jordair Jett (6.2
ppg, 4.0 apg, 2.2 spg) who despite not scoring much, has facilitated the
offense and been a menace on defense.
On paper Southern Illinois looks like an offensive force, but the Salukis have
not exactly faced a difficult schedule. On the road against a tough defensive
team, the Salukis will struggle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Louis 70, Southern Illinois 62
11/24 10:31:48 ET