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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 15, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,164) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: CSN-CHI. Home Record: SIU 4-1, Bradley 7-2. Away Record: SIU 3-6, Bradley 3-3. Neutral Record: SIU 1-1, Bradley 0-2. Conference Record: SIU 1-4, Bradley 2-3. Series Record: Bradley leads, 43-40.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Illinois Salukis shoot for back-to-back wins for the first time in almost a month, as they challenge the Bradley Braves in a Missouri Valley Conference showdown at Carver Arena on Tuesday night.
Since defeating Green Bay and New Orleans in consecutive contests back in the middle of December, SIU has won just twice in eight tries. On Saturday night, the team finally snapped a five-game slide by conquering the Indiana State Sycamores, 76-71, at home.
As for the Braves, they've been taken down in three straight outings and in the last two the offense has been limited to just 53 points. On Saturday afternoon, the squad was blown away by Northern Iowa in a 31-point decision on the road. Nevertheless, even at 2-3 in conference play Bradley is ahead of the Salukis in the standings.
Bradley won the first meeting of the season less than two weeks ago with a 66-60 victory on the road, which means the all-time series now favors the Braves by a count of 43-40. In that contest Walt Lemon Jr. scored a game-high 20 points for Bradley, while Desmar Jackson accounted for 15 points and nine rebounds for the hosts.
Converting all but one of his 13 attempts at the free-throw line, Jackson finished with a game-high 29 points as he helped guide the Salukis to the five-point home win over Indiana State on Saturday night in Carbondale. Jackson, who shot 8-of-15 from the floor, added eight rebounds and three steals for the hosts, while Anthony Beane tallied 11 points and six boards before fouling out. Jeff Early responded with a game-high 13 rebounds as he dealt with just 2-of-8 shooting from the floor. A starter in all but two of the games in which he has played, Jackson leads a quartet of double-digit scorers for the Salukis with his 16.8 ppg, followed by Early who is not only pouring in 12.8 ppg, but he is also first on the unit with 7.5 rpg which is crucial because the team as a whole is beating opponents on the glass by less than one rebound per contest at the moment.
Bradley fell behind by a 22-2 margin right out of the gate and never recovered against the Panthers in the lopsided setback over the weekend. The Braves made a total of just five field goals in the first half and while they managed to turn it around after the break with an impressive 57.1 percent from the floor, 7-of-11 on the perimeter, they still suffered the huge setback. Jalen Crawford scored a team-best 13 points off the bench and Dyricus Simms-Edwards contributed 12 points, four steals and three assists, without a single turnover. Simms-Edwards (11.1 ppg) is not only second on the team in both scoring and assists (57), but he is one of the nation's leaders in steals as well with a staggering 58 through 17 contests. As a group the Braves contest almost every pass and already have a massive 187 thefts, compared to only 97 for the competition.
Bradley has had some awful showings lately, but this might be the chance for the Braves to get back on track, especially since they are playing at home against a team that hasn't had much success on the road this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bradley 67, Southern Illinois 62
01/15 10:32:14 ET
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