Bradley (11-16) at Southern Illinois (10-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 18, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,339) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: WSIU. Home Record: Bradley 10-5, Southern Illinois 7-5. Away Record: Bradley 1-9, Southern Illinois 2-10. Neutral Record: Bradley 0-2, Southern Illinois 1-2. Conference Record: Bradley 6-8, Southern Illinois 6-8. Series Record: Bradley leads, 45-40.
GAME NOTES: Both the Bradley Braves and Southern Illinois Salukis have dropped back-to-back games, but one team will end that losing skid as they clash in a Missouri Valley Conference bout at SIU Arena.
Bradley had won two straight games to pull even in the MVC with a 6-6 record, but has since dropped two in a row to fall to 6-8. The Braves are coming off a 70-54 defeat at the hands of Illinois State Saturday.
Southern Illinois had won four consecutive contests before dropping its last two outings. The Salukis were downed by Indiana State, 60-57, on Saturday in conference play. SIU is tied with Bradley in the MVC standings at 6-8, though the Braves hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Bradley has the slim advantage in the all-time series with Southern Illinois, 45-40. The Braves were victorious when the teams met back on Jan. 17, edging out the Salukis, 66-60.
Illinois State held just a 30-27 lead over Bradley at the end of the first half Saturday, but the Redbirds exploded in the second half to create some distance for the conference win. Walt Lemon Jr. paced the Braves in the games with 18 points, giving away five turnovers. Auston Barnes chipped in with 12 points, and Tyshon Pickett recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Lemon leads the team in scoring this season with a 17.8 ppg average, and tops the squad with 106 assists on the year, but also has turned the ball over 99 times. Pickett checks in at second on the team in scoring with 11.9 ppg, and is tops in rebounding at 7.4 rpg. Omari Grier rounds out the double-digit scorers on the team with 10.4 ppg. The Braves are averaging just 64.1 ppg this season through 27 games played.
Southern Illinois held a seven-point lead over Indiana State almost midway through the second half, but allowed the Sycamores to battle their way back to earn the three-point victory. Desmar Jackson netted 19 points to lead the Salukis, while Anthony Beane contributed 18 points with eight rebounds in the loss. Despite shooting 54.5 percent from 3-point range, Southern Illinois could only muster 38.8 percent from the floor.
Jackson and Beane have been the two go-to players for the Salukis this season. Jackson leads the team with a 19.4 ppg average on 48.4 percent shooting from the field. His 59 assists total is the best on the team this season, and his 66 steals is also a team high. Beane checks in with 13.6 ppg on 46.3 percent shooting. Sean O'Brien leads SIU in rebounding with 5.4 rpg.
Neither of these teams has proven to be any good on the road, Bradley's 1-9 record away from home doesn't bode well for the Braves in this contest. If the Salukis can get another player to contribute while Beane and Jackson find their usual success, Southern Illinois will be in business.
Sports network Predicted Outcome: Southern Illinois 69, Bradley 62
02/18 10:31:46 ET