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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 4:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Redbird Arena (10,200) -- Normal, Illinois. Television: CSN-CHI. Home Record: SIU 4-4, ISU 8-4. Away Record: SIU 3-8, ISU 3-5. Neutral Record: SIU 1-1, ISU 1-1. Conference Record: SIU 1-9, ISU 3-7. Series Record: SIU leads, 75-67.
GAME NOTES: The Southern Illinois Salukis and the Illinois State Redbirds are set to square off in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup at Redbird Arena.
Southern Illinois has already matched last season's win total, although the team is just 1-9 in conference play. It marks the program's worst start in conference play since the 1981 team began that season 0-10. The Salukis' latest outing resulted in a 61-56 home loss to Drake this past Wednesday.
Illinois State saw its three-game winning streak come to a halt in Tuesday's 83-77 setback at Bradley, its first loss to the Braves in the last eight meetings. Following this tilt, the Redbirds will hit the road to face Drake and Creighton next week.
These teams are meeting for the second time in two weeks. ISU began its three- game win streak with a 70-56 road win over SIU on Jan. 20, as the Redbirds jumped out to a 26-point halftime lead. Still, the Salukis hold a 75-67 lead in the all-time series.
SIU forced 20 turnovers on Wednesday night and held Drake without a field goal for a nine-minute stretch in the second half. However, with the score tied at 54-54 late in the contest, the Bulldogs put together a 7-0 spurt to take control. Desmar Jackson tallied 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals in a losing effort. T.J. Lindsay added 11 points off the bench, and Josh Swan scored 10 for the Salukis, who shot just 36.5 percent from the floor as a team. Jackson has carried the load this season, as he leads the team in scoring (16.2 ppg), steals (45) and 3-pointers (29) and is second in rebounding (6.0 rpg). He is on pace to be the first SIU player to average more than 16 points since Darren Brooks (16.5) in 2003-04. Jeff Early is second on the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and his 7.5 rebounds per game is tops nationally among players who stand 6-1 and under. Still, the Salukis have been out-rebounded by all but one conference opponent this season.
Leading the way for Illinois State is 6-9 forward Jackie Carmichael, a 54- percent shooter from the field who averages 18.0 points and 9.3 rebounds. Carmichael is complemented along the perimeter by guard Tyler Brown, who is averaging 15.5 points and leads the team with 43 3-pointers (.333). As a team, the Redbirds are shooting 34.4 percent from the perimeter, while averaging 7.3 threes per game. But against Bradley earlier this week, they were simply unable to overcome a season-high 23 turnovers despite matching a season-high 13 treys (.542). The Redbirds led by as many as 16 in the first half, but they went more than five minutes without a field goal down the stretch, while Bradley came away with points on 14 of its final 15 possessions. Carmichael and John Wilkins shared team-high scoring honors with 16 points apiece, while Brown added 13 points and eight boards.
The Redbirds' late-game collapse is troubling, although they did manage to beat SIU on the road by 14 only 13 days ago. Look for the Redbirds to once again use their size to complete the season sweep.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 75, Southern Illinois 65
02/02 10:40:40 ET