Loyola-Chicago (8-13) at Southern Illinois (7-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 4:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,500) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Loyola 7-3, SIU 5-5. Away Record: Loyola 0-9, SIU 1-8. Neutral Record: Loyola 1-1, SIU 1-2. Conference Record: Loyola 3-6, SIU 3-6. Series Record: Loyola-Chicago leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: Still waiting to secure their first true road win of the season, the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago give it another go this afternoon as they match up against the Southern Illinois Salukis in Missouri Valley Conference action.
Currently 1-10 away from home this season, with the lone victory coming against SIU Edwardsville during the Portland State Tournament back in November, the Ramblers are coming off one of their best efforts of the season earlier this week. Granted, Loyola did come away with a 57-45 loss, the team's third in the last four outings, but that was against nationally-ranked and undefeated Wichita State on the road.
As for the Salukis, currently tied with Loyola, Drake and Evansville for last place in the MVC standings with a record of 3-6, they managed to snap a three- game slide on Wednesday night with a 79-60 romp over Indiana State. Overall, it was still just the seventh win of the campaign for the squad.
The Salukis picked up a 71-67 win in the first meeting between the programs last month in the Windy City, but still it is Loyola that clings to a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series.
Considering the Ramblers shot a dismal 28 percent from the field in the first half, including 1-of-7 behind the 3-point line, and facing an 18-point deficit at the break, they should have been proud of how they pushed the Shockers earlier this week in Kansas. Milton Doyle ended up being the only double-digit scorer for the Ramblers as he tallied 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the floor, as he was one of three players to have converted more than just a pair of field goals in the losing effort.
One of four players to have started all 21 games for the Ramblers, Doyle leads the team in scoring with his 16.0 ppg and is also tops with 70 assists, lending a hand on the glass with 4.1 rpg as well. Christian Thomas and Jeff White check in with 13.9 and 10.6 ppg, respectively, with both players hitting field goals with at least 50 percent accuracy in order to help push the squad to a solid 48.0 percent on the campaign.
The defense for the Salukis was all over Indiana State, limiting the Sycamores to a mere 16 points through the first 20 minutes of their meeting. Southern Illinois backed off a bit in the second half, but at the same time the SIU offense picked up the pace in order to cruise to the 19-point home win. Anthony Beane tallied a game-high 22 points, followed by Desmar Jackson with 16. Bola Olaniyan and Sean O'Brien tallied 12 and 11 points, respectively, and both cleared 12 rebounds.
Having taken more than twice as many field goal chances than all but one of his teammates during the nine conference bouts thus far, it only makes sense that Jackson is the leading scorer for the program with his 18.6 ppg. While he has converted just 3-of-23 (.130) behind the 3-point line, Jackson can get away with that deficiency thanks to 6.0 rpg and team highs with 22 assists and 22 steals. Beane and O'Brien check in with another 10.8 and 10.0 ppg, respectively, in those conference bouts.
At some point the Ramblers will have to take down an opponent in a true road game and since the squad played so well against one of the top teams in the country the last time out, now is as good a time as any.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola-Chicago 68, Southern Illinois 64
02/01 10:17:24 ET