Jan. 30, 2013
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Drake survived a nine-minute drought without a field goal in the second half to sneak out of SIU Arena with a 61-56 win over Southern Illinois on Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs (10-11, 4-6) won despite committing 20 turnovers and allowing a 10-point second-half lead to evaporate. They did it on the strength of a couple of clutch 3-point shots late in the game.
With the score tied, 51-51, Chris Hines hit a trey with 4:04 remaining -- the first basket for the Bulldogs since Hines drained a triple at the 13:22 mark. Then with the score tied, 54-54, Drake guard Rich Carter coaxed a 3-pointer through the basket that bounced high off the front of the rim before falling in with 1:05 remaining. It started a 7-0 run that lifted the Bulldogs to their eighth-straight victory over SIU.
"I think if you asked Barry (Hinson), I think he'd agree that neither team was very crisp tonight," said Drake coach Mark Phelps. "We shot the ball very well but turned it over way too many times. We're happy to get the win."
Shooting was the clear difference in the game, as Drake made 50 percent to SIU's 36 percent. The Bulldogs were also 8-of-15 from 3-point, while the Salukis (8-13, 1-9) converted just six 3-pointers off a season-high 25 attempts.
"Point blank -- what it comes down to -- we could not make a shot," said SIU head coach Barry Hinson. "It was excruciating. I felt the entire game tonight I was at my dentist's office and they were drilling on me with no novocaine."
Desmar Jackson had a nice stat line of 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals for Southern, but the junior guard, along with backcourt mates Kendal Brown-Surles and Anthony Beane were a combined 2-for-17 from behind the arc. Drake settled into a 2-3 zone in the second half, cutting off the driving lanes and forcing perimeter shots.
Saluki forward Dantiel Daniels was not a factor, missing all three shot attempts and scoring no points. It was only the second time in Daniels' 45-game career in which he was held scoreless. The only other time was at Drake last season.
Phelps said the key to stopping Daniels was not giving him angles to the basket. Blocking his path most of the night was 6-foot-11 center Seth VanDeest.
"If (Daniels) was 2-3 inches taller, you couldn't deal with him at all," Phelps said. "He's a load even at his size. When you give him angles, he's very deadly, and I know he's not 100 percent back from his injury."
Daniels has reached double figures only once in conference games this season, and Hinson is not sure what is causing his sophomore big man to struggle.
"That's the mystery," Hinson said. "He had one shot blocked tonight -- the guy never left his feet. (VanDeest) blocked a shot and didn't jump."
Equally ineffective in the second half was SIU's perimeter shooting. The Salukis were 1-for-12 from 3-point range. Still, thanks to Drake's miscues, Southern tied the game on two occasions.
"We kept hanging around and I really felt like if we ever took the lead we would win the ballgame," Hinson said. "I want it so bad for (our players) and I want it so bad for our fans and maybe we're trying too hard?"
Jeff Early returned from a one-game suspension and scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds for SIU. Backup guard T.J. Lindsay also gave Southern a spark by scoring 11 points off the bench, including 3-of-6 from 3-point.
"He had a sprained foot and came in and hit three big shots," Hinson noted. "If he doesn't make those threes, we're not in the game."
Hinson was philosophic after the game.
"Why does a team like Drake shoot 37 percent on the road in threes and come in here and shoot 53 percent?" he asked. "It's because there's no fear factor. We have nobody's respect right now."
The Salukis lost their fifth-straight game and for the 10th time in the last 11 outings.
"This one hurts -- I can't fake it," Hinson acknowledged. "I thought we had it. There's only one thing that will help this team right now, and we are searching for the elusive win."