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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 5, 2:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Redbirds Arena (10,200) -- Normal, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Southern Illinois 3-3, Illinois State 4-2. Away Record: Southern Illinois 0-5, Illinois State 2-3. Neutral Record: Southern Illinois 1-2, Illinois State 1-1. Conference Record: Southern Illinois 0-1, Illinois State 0-1. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 75-68.
GAME NOTES: Both the Southern Illinois Salukis and Illinois State Redbirds look to bounce back from Thursday losses as they meet in Normal in Missouri Valley Conference action on Sunday.
Southern Illinois has lost two games in a row and six of its last eight, including an 82-67 defeat at the hands of Wichita State in the team's most recent contest - the first MVC game of the season for the Salukis.
Illinois State was halted by Missouri State Thursday, 78-70 in overtime, but the losses haven't piled up for the Redbirds like they have for SIU. Illinois State has won six of its last eight games.
The Salukis hold the all-time series lead, 75-68, in the long-standing MVC and intrastate rivalry. Illinois State though, has won the last three meetings and nine of the last 13 played.
After last season's loss to Southern Illinois, Wichita State wasn't about to let the Salukis take two consecutive meetings, as the Shockers were on fire from the opening tip in the 82-67 takedown of SIU. Desmar Jackson and Sean O'Brien each scored 19 points in the Southern Illinois loss, while Jalen Pendleton contributed 16 for the Salukis. O'Brien connected on 5-of-6 shooting in the contest, adding seven rebounds and two blocks to his stat line. Jackson was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line before fouling out. Despite shooting 61.1 percent from the floor in the second half, the Salukis were overmatched throughout.
Jackson leads the team this season in scoring with 20.6 ppg, while Pendleton is next on the Salukis roster with a 12.6 ppg mark. Jackson, through 14 games, is shooting 49.5 percent from the field, and leads the team with 29 steals. O'Brien is tops on the team with a 4.9 rpg average and is fourth on the team averaging 7 ppg. The Salukis are shooting 47.6 percent from the floor this season, and are averaging 69.1 ppg.
Illinois State led for nearly 39 minutes of Thursday's overtime loss to Missouri State, but when the Bears forced overtime it was all downhill for the Redbirds. Daishon Knight led the way for the Redbirds, scoring a team-high 15 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four assists in the contest. Bobby Hunter contributed 11 points, while Paris Lee and Reggie Lynch each scored 10 for Illinois State. Hunter added six rebounds and four assists, while Lee added a team-high five assists to his line. The Redbirds shot 45.2 percent from the floor in the game.
Knight is the team's leading scorer, netting an average of 14.7 ppg this season, followed by Zach Lofton with an 11.2 ppg average. Knight and Lee are tied for the team lead in assists with 34 this year. Lofton though, is shooting just 29.5 percent from the floor in 13 games played, including 25 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. As a team, the Redbirds are shooting 40.5 percent from the field and are averaging 72.4 ppg this season.
The Salukis have struggled to score this season against formidable opponents. Illinois State, playing at home, should be able to stop the inconsistent offensive play of Southern Illinois.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 73, Southern Illinois 65
01/05 10:32:06 ET
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