Anthony Beane hit the game-winning shot in overtime.
Feb. 1, 2014
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois won a heart-stopper in overtime on Saturday, topping Loyola, 81-76, behind a career-high 27-point outing from Anthony Beane and a 20-point, five-assist, six-steal game from Desmar Jackson.
The Salukis (8-15-4-6) needed a pair of Tyler Smithpeters free throws with 1.0 second left just to send it to OT. In the extra period, Beane hit the shot of the game, a pull-up 18 footer near the top of the key to give SIU a 78-76 lead with 23 seconds to go.
It was a heartbreaker for the Ramblers (8-14, 3-7), who lost their 15th-straight road game dating back to last season. They were led by Milton Doyle, the likely Freshman of the Year in the Missouri Valley Conference, who had 27 points.
Southern led by eight with 5:37 to go in regulation, but Loyola went on an amazing 14-5 run to take a 69-68 lead on a Doyle 3-pointer with 1:48 left. After Saluki forward Bola Olaniyan split a pair of free throws to tie it, 69-69, with 50 seconds, Christian Thomas put the Ramblers up by two with a jumper with 16 on the game clock. He was fouled on the play by Beane, but missed a free throw that could have given his team a three-point edge.
Beane and Jackson were well covered on SIU's final possession, and Smithpeters had no choice but to drive it to the basket. After his shot missed, Loyola's Matt O'Leary was whistled for a foul, infuriating Ramblers coach Porter Moser. Smithpeters calmly made both free throws, though the second one clipped both edges of the rim before falling in, allowing the crowd of 5,156 to exhale.
"On the sideline he said, `I'm not missing it,' and then I kissed Jalen at half court after he made his first free throw," said SIU head coach Barry Hinson.
In overtime, the teams traded buckets until the final seconds. After Beane hit his key jumper to put Southern up by two, Doyle drove the lane and lost possession of the ball with six seconds to go. It landed in the arms of Jalen Pendleton, who was fouled and made both free throws. Pendleton, who has struggled in the last few weeks, came off the bench to spark SIU with 12 points.
"I went out last night in my hot tub and I saw the alignment of the stars, and I had an old record player with a needle and I did like ET," Hinson joked. "I had it tricked up to my tree because it was breezy last night and I sent a message to mother ship to bring Jalen back."
Loyola led by five at halftime, but Southern took control of the game early in the second half because Jackson kept swiping away the basketball at the top of SIU's 2-3 zone defense. He leads the league in steals and is a front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year in the MVC.
"Jackson's length at the top of the zone is a factor for everybody playing against Southern when they play that zone," Moser said. "He's obviously an All-League player. He's had 51 points in two games against us, so you can kind of guess my ballot for first team."
"He's one of those guys when you go to McDonald's you better keep your eyes on your fries, because he's sneaky," added Hinson. "It's all anticipation."
Loyola played much of the game with no player taller than 6-foot-5, and they lost the rebound battle, 32-26. They couldn't keep Olaniyan off the offensive glass, where he grabbed seven of his 14 rebounds.
"In a tight Valley game you give your team the opportunity to have seven more possessions, that's huge," Moser said. "Their ability to pound the glass, we have such a lack of depth rebounding-wise, they took advantage of it."
SIU has won consecutive games for only the second time this season and hopes to post its first three-game winning streak of the year if it can beat Drake on the road on Tuesday.
"If we want to be in a position to play on a Friday night (at the MVC Tournament) instead of a Thursday night, then we gotta go win on the road," said Hinson, whose team's only road win this season came at Loyola.
Southern is now 3-5 in games decided by five points or less this season and winning a close one was gratifying for Hinson.
"We found a way to win the ballgame and we finished it," he said. "I told our players we earned it."
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