Jan. 28, 2012
By Tom Weber
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State used a 30-5 run that started with six minutes left in the first half and continued for 10 minutes of the second half, coasting past Southern Illinois, 60-40, on Saturday.
The Salukis (7-15, 4-7) had a dreadful shooting day, converting just 15-of-50 field goals. It was the second-lowest scoring output in school history, behind a 36-point outing at Bradley on Feb. 16, 1981.
Midway through the first half, the score was tied, 14-14, as both teams were sluggish offensively.
"I thought we were trying to set a turnover record for a few minutes early in the game," Illinois State head coach Tim Jankovich said.
The Redbirds (14-8, 6-5) eventually broke out of their offensive doldrums, thanks to center Jackie Carmichael, who had 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first half.
"When they needed a basket, that's where the ball went," SIU head coach Chris Lowery said. "He's improved and they're going to him in clutch situations."
Southern never did find any rhythm on offense. Lowery said the plan was to get the ball in the post to freshman forward Dantiel Daniels, who has played well in recent weeks. That never materialized, and he scored just four points on 2-of-4 shooting.
"We turned it over out in space," Lowery said. "That guy has to touch the ball. When you play 27 minutes and only get four touches, that's our guys' impatience."
It was the second-straight road game where SIU has struggled to run its offense, coming one week after the team lost at Wichita State, 85-42. Lowery wondered how much of today's outcome was due to Illinois State's play versus his team's ineffectiveness. The Salukis had only five assists in the game and committed 11 turnovers.
"They didn't play exceptionally well -- they got 60 on us," Lowery said. "The thing that's hard to believe for us is how many open shots we missed, how many opportunities we didn't take advantage of that led to a run-out for them."
The score was 44-19 with 10:22 remaining in the game, before baskets finally started falling for Southern. Unfortunately for SIU, eight of its baskets came in the final 10 minutes of the game when the outcome had long since been decided.
Jankovic said the first 10 minutes of second half, in which the Salukis scored two points, was the best span of defense his team has played this season.
"It's been the emphasis lately -- making defending and rebounding our staple," he said. "I thought from head to toe we did a tremendous job."
"We're going to ride him out because he's a good player and we're going to continue to go to him," Lowery said of his senior forward.
SIU missed an opportunity to sweep the season series and move into a tie in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with Illinois State. Instead, they are two games behind the third-place Redbirds.
"I thought we really prepared well coming into this game," Lowery said. "Knowing what's at stake and to not show up like that is obviously disappointing."