Barry Hinson celebrates win over Wichita State.
Feb. 5, 2013
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - In a wild one at SIU Arena, Southern Illinois lost it, won it, lost it again, before dramatically winning it for good when Jalen Pendleton's floater in the lane with 2.0 seconds remaining was swatted away, yet counted thanks to a goaltending call.
In the end, the Salukis (9-14, 2-10) snapped a six-game losing streak, beating No. 22 Wichita State, 64-62, on Tuesday night for their first win over a ranked opponent since 2008. The Shockers (19-5, 8-4) left the raucous building reeling from their third-straight loss.
The night initially followed script, with Wichita jumping to a 29-12 lead with seven minutes to go in the first half. Then T.J. Lindsay came off the bench and caught fire for SIU, making four 3-pointers and pouring in 14 first-half points.
"If he doesn't get going in the first half, we're not in the ballgame," said SIU head coach Barry Hinson.
Meanwhile, the visitors parked their offense in neutral. In fact, it was a spectacular meltdown for the Shockers, who went more than 11 minutes without a field goal, committing eight turnovers and missing nine shots during a span that lasted the final six minutes of the first half and first five minutes of the second half.
"Everybody's been just blasting us because of our defense," Hinson said. "I kept telling you, if we could just make some shots where we get some energy, we play better defense."
SIU took its first lead of the game on an Anthony Beane jumper with 19:12 remaining and held a seemingly comfortable nine-point advantage, 57-48, with 5:45 to go.
Suddenly, Wichita State pulled out of its doldrums with a 12-1 run and had a 60-58 lead, plus possession of the ball with two minutes remaining.
That's when Pendleton stepped up, got a steal, made two free throws and a driving layup to knot the game, 62-62, with 48 seconds left.
The Shockers then committed a 35-second violation, handing the ball back to SIU with 11.1 seconds to go.
"We have two guys (on the court) with nine years of experience -- we have to get a shot," Marshall said.
Southern spread the floor, Pendleton drove into the paint and launched a floater that was swatted away by Wichita's Ehimen Orukpe with 2.0 seconds left. Goaltending was called, and Southern had its ninth victory of the season, surpassing last year's win total of eight.
Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall thought Pendleton should have been whistled for charging on the game-winning play. The burly guard crashed into defender Demetric Williams, who fell to the floor absent a whistle. It's likely Marshall disagreed with the goaltending call, as well.
"I thought it was a great call -- and the charge right before it," he said with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. "You back up, you back up, and they run over you, and you still can't get a call."
Pendleton was an unlikely hero for Southern. The rarely used true freshman was inserted into the game for defensive purposes with two minutes remaining. He wound up scoring Southern's final six points.
"I wanted to get Desmar (Jackson) the ball (on the final play), but I saw they were playing terrific defense on him," he said. "There wasn't much time left, and as I drove, (Williams) cut me off and fell, and that allowed me to get the shot off. We'll never know if it would have gone in."
Hinson said Pendleton's inexperience served to his advantage during the final, pressure-packed moments of the game.
"He probably doesn't know any better and that's probably to his benefit in that game," Hinson said. "Just go do what you do, son."
Hinson said the final possession was not drawn up for any specific player.
"In the last timeout, we just told our guys, attack the press, 11 seconds is a long time, get to the basket," he explained. "You don't have to shoot it, just make a good play. The worst thing that can happen is we go into overtime."
Hinson said he started the game with a bad feeling, because he intended to start all three of Southern's seniors, but forgot to put Lindsay into the lineup.
"I met with the seniors before the Illinois State game, and I was going to make rest of the season all about them -- I was going to start my three seniors the rest of the year," he said. "I forgot. It really bothered me."
Associate head coach Tom Hankins explained the error to Lindsay and reported back to Hinson that the senior guard said, "I just want to play, coach, however I can help the team."
It was a team victory in every sense for Southern. Jeff Early and Desmar Jackson each scored 11 points. Davante Drinkard came off the bench to play a career-high 29 minutes and scored four points. Kendal Brown-Surles made a couple of critical 3-pointers.
"The best feeling is walking off that floor and seeing our fans and seeing how excited they were, and walking in that locker room and seeing those kids jump around," Hinson said.