Desmar Jackson scored 24 points at Drake
Feb. 4, 2014
By Tom Weber
DES MOINES, Iowa - Southern Illinois dominated Drake on Tuesday night, 74-58, for its first three-game winning streak of the season and first three-game win streak in conference play in six years.
The Salukis (9-15, 5-6) are playing their best basketball of the season, and sophomore guard Anthony Beane has been the catalyst, scoring 20 points tonight, giving him 69 during the current win streak.
Beane's sudden emergence has relieved some of the scoring load from senior Desmar Jackson, who turned in another tremendous all-around performance with 24 points, five rebounds, five assists and six steals.
SIU got off to a great start. Entering the game as a 29 percent shooting team from 3-point, the Salukis made 6-of-9 from downtown in the first half. The defense was equally impressive, forcing 11 first-half turnovers.
The Bulldogs (12-11, 3-8) made one, desperate comeback attempt, cutting a 20-point deficit to eight, 46-38, early in the second half. Beane snuffed out the rally with a 3-pointer that started a back-breaking 13-4 SIU run.
"I thought for 36 minutes, that's as good as we can get," said SIU head coach Barry Hinson. "That's genie in a bottle stuff."
Southern avenged a home loss to Drake that took place two weeks ago, and it kept alive hopes of finishing in the top six and avoiding Thursday night play at the conference tournament.
"The basic rule is, if you lose a home game at your place, you have to go get that game back (on the road)," Hinson said. "This was a must-win for us."
The Salukis played their 2-3 zone defense with a sense of urgency, deflecting passes and contesting virtually every 3-point shot. Jackson was the primary menace at the top of the zone as he recorded six steals for the third time this season.
"We knew coming into this game that because of their 3-point shooting and their athleticism on the perimeter driving it with (Jordan) Daniels and (Richard) Carter, we really had to play zone," Hinson said. "We made it hard for them to penetrate, and we knew we'd have to give up some threes."
The Bulldogs were lukewarm from 3-point, connecting on 9-of-27 tries. They weren't much better from the field overall as they shot 37 percent.
Conversely, SIU made 7-of-13 shots from outside the arc. Beane was 3-of-6 and Jackson made 2-of-3.
"We knew they were going to zone us and make us shoot outside shots," Hinson said. "Since they beat us at our place and we went 4-for-18 (from 3-point), we've put an enormous amount of emphasis on shooting and being ready to shoot."
With seven games to go in the regular season, the Salukis are hitting their stride, Hinson said.
"We're winning the rebounding battle, we're shooting the ball much better, we're distributing the ball much better, we're more unselfish, Anthony and Dez are open more than they have been, it's contagious," he said.
SIU won on the road for only the second time this season, but it was the largest margin of victory in a road contest since beating SEMO by 21 on Dec. 9, 2009.