Southern Illinois (8-15) at Drake (12-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 4, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Drake Knapp Center (7,002) -- Des Moines, Iowa. Television: MC22, ESPN3.com. Home Record: SIU 6-5, Drake 6-4. Away Record: SIU 1-8, Drake 4-5. Neutral Record: SIU 1-2, Drake 2-1. Conference Record: SIU 4-6, Drake 3-7. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 52-30.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams in the bottom half of the Missouri Valley Conference standings get together in Des Moines on Tuesday night, as the Drake Bulldogs host the Southern Illinois Salukis.
Despite sporting an overall record that is seven games below .500, the Salukis have shown some positive signs of late with back-to-back conference victories. Thanks to a 79-60 triumph over Indiana State last week and an 81-76 overtime triumph versus Loyola on Saturday, SIU is now shooting for its first three- game win streak of the campaign.
Unlike SIU, the Bulldogs are now currently two games above .500 on the season, but at the same time have settled in below the Salukis in the MVC. Over the weekend Drake was taken to task by Illinois State on the road and beaten soundly, 75-57, the seventh loss in the last nine outings for the program.
Drake won the first meeting of the season back on Jan. 22 by a score of 57-54 on the road, but still the Salukis own a 52-30 advantage in the all-time series. Aaron Hawley and Richard Carter scored in double figures for the Bulldogs with 19 and 12 points, respectively, the team overcoming 15 turnovers and just 39.5 percent shooting from the floor.
Anthony Beane converted 10-of-16 shots from the floor for the Salukis as he finished with a team-best 27 points in the win over Loyola in Carbondale Saturday afternoon. Desmar Jackson responded with 20 points, six steals, five assists and four rebounds, followed by Jalen Pendleton with 12 points off the bench. Although he shot just 1-of-3 from the floor and tallied only five points in 23 minutes, Bola Olaniyan made an impact for the hosts as well with his game-high 14 rebounds.
A starter in every game for the Salukis this season, Jackson is also the top overall scorer with 19.9 ppg, thanks to his 49.1 percent shooting from the field and 124-of-161 (.770) at the free-throw line where he has made far more shots than any one of his teammates has attempted. Beane and Pendleton check in with 12.1 and 10.2 ppg, respectively, for a group that is producing 67.8 ppg while shooting just 29.9 percent behind the 3-point line.
After 20 minutes of action the Bulldogs were at least within striking distance of Illinois State, but that was before the Redbirds limited the visitors to a grand total of just five field goals in the second half, including 1-of-10 behind the 3-point line. Trevor Berkeley was credited with 13 points and eight rebounds for Drake, followed by Chris Caird with 10 points, but beyond that the Bulldogs had just one other player with more than two made field goals in the setback.
Perhaps most disappointing about the meeting with Illinois State was the lackluster performance of Richard Carter who shot 1-of-6 from the field, missed all three chances beyond the arc and finished with five points in 31 minutes of action. Despite the weak effort, Carter remains the leading scorer for the group with his 17.0 ppg and is also tops on the passing list with 79 assists. Quick reflexes have also resulted in 43 steals for Carter, more than a third of the team's total after 22 contests.
Assuming Carter returns to form and isn't limited to being a virtual spectator in this meeting, Drake has reason to believe it can complete the season sweep versus SIU tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Drake 69, Southern Illinois 64
02/04 10:50:12 ET