Southern Illinois (4-11) at Loyola Chicago (6-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 8, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentile Arena (4,486) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: Comcast SportsNet, MVC-TV, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Southern Illinois 3-3, Loyola Chicago 5-1. Away Record: Southern Illinois 0-6, Loyola Chicago 0-6. Neutral Record: Southern Illinois 1-2, Loyola Chicago 1-1. Conference Record: Southern Illinois 0-2, Loyola Chicago 1-1. Series Record: Loyola Chicago leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Illinois Salukis look to step out of the shadow of a three-game losing streak as they travel to face the Loyola Chicago Ramblers in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup at Gentile Arena on Wednesday.
Southern Illinois has struggled this season to a 4-11 overall record, and has lost seven of its last nine games dating back to Nov. 27. The Salukis were defeated 66-48 by Illinois State on the road Sunday, and now must travel to Loyola Chicago for the team's third MVC game this season.
The Ramblers were on the same level as Southern Illinois, experiencing a three-game losing skid before they easily defeated Missouri State Sunday, 89-57, in conference play. Loyola Chicago is 3-3 in its last six games.
Loyola Chicago has won the only two games in the all-time series between the two schools. The Salukis lost by 37 points to Loyola back on Jan. 27, 1981, which was the last time these teams met.
Southern Illinois was held to a mere 17 second-half points against Illinois State Sunday in the team's 66-48 loss. The 17 points came off 5-of-20 shooting in the period for the Salukis, and was two points shy of a school-record low 15 that was set in 1965. Desmar Jackson was the only player to score double- digit points for the Salukis in the contest, as he netted 19 on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor. Jackson added four steals, four rebounds and turned the ball over four times. As a team, the Salukis gave the ball away 14 times in the loss.
Jackson is one of the only bright spots this season for Southern Illinois, as the senior guard is averaging 20.5 ppg and 4.7 rpg. He's first on the roster with 33 total steals, and is third with 23 assists. Sean O'Brien leads the team in rebounding with a 5 rpg average, but the center has had trouble scoring, netting just 7.1 ppg. The Salukis are shooting 46.5 percent this season, but only scoring an average of 67.7 ppg.
Loyola Chicago put the game away against Missouri State midway through the second half with a 22-2 run, leading to its first-ever MVC win. The Ramblers defeated the previously two-loss Bears handedly, 89-57. Devon Turk scored a game-high 30 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, including 13-of-13 from the free-throw line. Turk led five double-digit scorers in the contest for Loyola. Milton Doyle contributed 13 points and a team-high five assists and two steals. The Ramblers shot an impressive 60.8 percent from the floor in the game, and were 56.3 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
Doyle and Christian Thomas lead the team in scoring this season with 14.4 ppg and 14.1 ppg, respectively. Thomas tops the Loyola Chicago squad in rebounding with a 6.3 rpg average, and is shooting 50 percent from 3-point distance (5- of-10). Turk, who hasn't started a game this season, nets 9.6 ppg off the bench.
With the homecourt advantage against a struggling Southern Illinois squad this season, Loyola Chicago should easily have the upper edge in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Loyola Chicago 73, Southern Illinois 63
01/08 11:23:38 ET