Jan. 1, 2012
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The lid finally game off the basket for a couple of Saluki freshmen and it couldn't have happened at a better time for a team in the depths of a four-game losing streak.
Setty, a 6-foot-9 forward, was 0-for-13 on the season from 3-point range, but he finally split the net with a triple from the right wing with 2:57 remaining in the first half, bringing the drought to an end.
"I've had dreams about knocking down a three at SIU Arena for the first time and wondering if that was ever going to happen," he said after the game. "That was supposed to be my thing coming in, and I wasn't hitting any shots."
Swan was shooting a paltry 20 percent from the field heading into the contest, but he made 6-of-8 shots from the field, providing a spark off the bench.
"I've been talking to the coaches all week about form-shooting and shooting the ball with confidence," he said. "Teammates have been telling me to come off tight curls and square up to the basket. I tried to do that and my shots starting falling."
The game was a stunning reversal on many fronts for the Salukis (4-9, 1-1). Three nights ago, they were whipped by 18 points at Evansville. After committing 23 turnovers against the Purple Aces, they had only eight miscues today.
The Redbirds (9-4, 1-1), winners of four straight, entered the game as the league's top defensive team, allowing an average of just 57 points per game. SIU's 86 was 13 more than any previous opponent had scored against ISU.
"(Southern's) record is the most irrelevant record in the United States," said Illinois State head coach Tim Jankovich. "I believe that strongly. They had a lot of guys out, so the team that they play with now did not have that record. The team they have now is far better than the team they were playing with a month ago."
The Salukis never trailed in the game as junior guard T.J. Lindsay knocked down his first two looks from 3-point range to give Southern an 8-3 advantage. He went on to make 6-of-7 from downtown and finish with 18 points.
"We had a terrible performance at Evansville, and everyone was down on themselves," said Lindsay. "Our record will probably make you underestimate us, but we're a better team than what it shows."
After leading by eight at halftime, SIU scored eight-straight points to start the second half -- the last four by Setty -- and the rout was on. The Dawgs led by as many as 22 points, as they shot 56 percent from the field in the second half and 51 percent for the game.
Southern was active on the glass, grabbing 16 offensive rebounds, which led to a 40-26 rebounding advantage overall.
"Today we rebounded against a really big, and athletic team," said SIU head coach Chris Lowery. "You have to give credit to our guys. They bounced back, they played hard, they are very resilient. Their effort and enthusiasm was there."
The final score was the biggest margin of victory in a Missouri Valley Conference game for the Salukis since beating Evansville by 16 points two seasons ago.
"I keep telling them confidence is a win away," Lowery said. "As long as they keep feeling good about themselves, good things will keep happening to the team as a whole. We just have to keep telling them to be humble, hungry, stay confident, and continue to do the right things."