Evansville hands Men's Basketball its fourth-straight loss, 85-68

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    Anthony Beane scored 15 points for SIU.
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    Jan. 5, 2013

    By Tom Weber

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    EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Evansville handed Southern Illinois its most lopsided loss of the season, 85-68, at the Ford Center on Saturday night.

    The Purple Aces (9-6, 2-1) led by six at halftime, but opened the second half with an 18-2 run and never looked back. The Salukis (7-7, 0-3), who were led by Jeff Early's 18 points and 10 rebounds, lost their fourth-straight game.

    SIU head coach Barry Hinson said Evansville's second-half run, which lasted just over six minutes, broke his team's spirit.

    "There's no question we quit," he said. "We just stopped playing. I've been on both sides. I've seen teams do it, and very, very seldom have I had teams to do it."

    The game was a guard-oriented matchup on both ends of the court, and that put Southern at a disadvantage. Evansville senior guard Colt Ryan led his team with 26 points, and the Purple Aces scorched the nets by making 9-of-18 shots from 3-point range. Ned Cox had 17 points for UE and made 5-of-6 treys.

    "(Cox) was on fire," Hinson said. "If they had cracked an egg, they could've fried it on his backside because he was so hot. They shot incredible all night long. They just dissected us."

    Evansville converted 58 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point and 89 percent from the free throw line.

    "When you make shots, it's amazing, everything seems to get a lot better," said Evansville head coach Marty Simmons. "We haven't shot the ball very well in the last five games."

    Hinson was asked if he noticed any ill effects in Ryan's game from a hip injury he suffered earlier in the season.

    "Whatever ailments he had mentally, physically or spiritually, we took care of those tonight," Hinson joked.

    There were bright spots offensively for Southern. In addition to Early's fifth double-double of the season, freshman Anthony Beane scored 15 points and Desmar Jackson added 10. SIU shot 51 percent from the field, though it was only 2-of-11 from 3-point.

    "They're quick, they're athletic and they're very, very aggressive," Simmons said. "We had a hard time keeping the ball in front, we gave up tons of middle penetration, and we were slow rotating outside the lane. Tonight, we were just fortunate we were able to make some shots."

    Evansville's biggest lead of the night was 23 points and came on a driving layup by Ryan with 13:39 remaining in the game. The closest Southern came thereafter was 15 points on a Josh Swan jumper at the 8:27 mark.

    "Our guys are really struggling right now and really fighting me," Hinson said. "It's not a lot of fun right now."

    Dating back to last season, Southern has dropped eight-straight MVC games, marking the longest losing streak since SIU lost 10-straight between Feb. 15, 1986 and Jan. 22, 1987.

    "They're frustrated, I'm frustrated, I'm confused -- a little bit of Lewis and Clark right now -- I'm in uncharted territory," Hinson said. "I've never been through this."

    Southern played its second-straight game without forward Dantiel Daniels, who averages 10.8 points per game and gives the team its only interior presence.

    "We're just plugging holes," Hinson explained. "We're playing with five guards most of the time, and when you have guys get their heads down and don't give you great effort, it's magnified."

    The Salukis are 0-3 in the conference for the first time since 2009, a season in which they rebounded to finish 8-10 in the league.