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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,339) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: MSU 7-6, SIU 6-4. Away Record: MSU 1-10, SIU 3-10. Neutral Record: MSU 0-2, SIU 1-1. Conference Record: MSU 6-8, SIU 3-11. Series Record: SIU leads 38-33.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Illinois Salukis will play host to the Missouri State Bears at the SIU Arena in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup on Saturday night.
Missouri State most recently posted a 67-65 win over Indiana State. The victory ended a two-game slump for the Bears who have won just three of their last 10 games. This will be a one-game trip away from home before heading back to Springfield to square off against Northern Iowa
The Salukis are fresh off a 65-56 win over Evansville. It was the second win in three games for Southern Illinois which was previously on a six-game losing streak. This will be the second of a two-game homestand for the Salukis who will be hitting the road to face Creighton next. SIU has not won consecutive MVC games since early January of last season.
The Salukis lead the all-time series 38-33. However, the Bears took the last matchup 70-59 in late December of this season.
Marcus Marshall supplied 19 points off 5-of-9 shooting from the field and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line in the win over Indiana State. Christian Kirk added 14 points, while Keith Pickens managed 11 points and nine rebounds for Missouri State. While the squad shot only 40.4 percent from the field, it held ISU to just 38.6 percent. Anthony Downing leads the Bears in both scoring and minutes per game, while he is the only MSU player to start all 26 games this season. Downing averages 13.6 ppg and 33.6 mpg but shoots under 40.0 percent from the field. Marshall is the only other Bear averaging at least 30.0 mpg and double-figure scoring with 10.5 ppg. No MSU player averages five or more rpg. The Bears are one of the worst offenses in the nation, averaging just 59.9 ppg (324th nationally).
In the win over the Purple Aces, Jeff Early recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Jalen Pendleton and Anthony Beane Jr. added 12 points each. The Salukis held Evansville to 40.7 percent from the field and earned a 38-26 rebounding edge. Desmar Jackson is SIU's top scorer this season, averaging 15.6 ppg. Early adds 11.6 ppg, while leading the team with 7.5 rpg and shoots just under 50.0 percent from the floor. The Salukis are in the middle of the pack in both scoring and scoring defense but do allow opposing teams to shoot 46.7 percent from the field and nearly 40.0 percent from 3-point range. They struggle from the free-throw line as they shoot just 64.2 percent from the stripe.
The Bears are just 1-10 in true road away games and in 13 games played away from home they are 1-12. The lack of offensive production for MSU will be a problem against SIU, which will be looking to take a key win this late in the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Illinois 68, Missouri State 55
02/16 10:47:23 ET
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