Desmar Jackson scored 18 points to lead the Salukis.
Oct. 27, 2012
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois breezed through it first exhibition game under new head coach Barry Hinson, trouncing Lincoln University, 83-47, on Saturday night at SIU Arena.
All nine players who dressed for the Salukis scored, but it was the upperclassmen who carried the load.
Junior guard Desmar Jackson, making his first appearance in a Saluki uniform, showed why he was the Mountain West Conference's fifth-leading scorer in 2011. The Wyoming transfer, who sat out last season, finished with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds.
"I think it speaks volumes of what he can do," said Hinson, regarding Jackson's stat line in just 25 minutes of action. "I told him, 'you have an opportunity to have a special time as a basketball player, but at the same time, you have to earn that by being responsible on and off the floor.'"
Hinson said Jackson was supposed to start the game, but was held out because he skipped class earlier in the week. When he finally entered the game at the 10-minute mark, the Salukis were trailing by one.
Senior guards Kendal Brown-Surles and T.J. Lindsay also had big games for Southern, with 15 and 12 points, respectively. Brown-Surles missed his first four shot attempts, but heated up to make five of his last six tries, including a trio of 3-pointers. Both KBS and Lindsay had four steals apiece.
Hinson praised another senior, Jeff Early, for his stat line of eight points, six rebounds, two steals and one turnover.
"Jeff's pretty good at turning the ball over -- last year it looked like he was trying to get tax deductions -- he can turn the ball over now," Hinson joked. "We've challenged him on that."
Southern got off to a slow start -- the game was tied 25-25 with less than seven minutes remaining in the first half -- but finished the half on a 19-4 run and never looked back. Jackson scored the final bucket of the first half by weaving through defenders and then throwing down a tomahawk one-hand jam.
"I told the team before the game, we will play hard, we will play together, we will play unselfish," Hinson said. "You never get a second chance to make a first impression with your fans. I hope we left a pretty good first impression."
Lincoln, a Division II school from Missouri that finished 4-22 a year ago, struggled with turnovers, committing 25.
"I'm happy, but I'm also a realist," Hinson said. "I know the team we played."
The Salukis led by 13 at halftime and poured it on after the break, finishing the game with their biggest lead of the night -- 36 points.
"If you had taken a poll of our fans before the game, would the Salukis have won by 36, I guarantee 99 percent would have said no," said the always colorful Hinson. "The one percent that would have said yes would have just come from Midlands and been drunk as a skunk."
A year ago, the Salukis were typically led in scoring by a front-court player. Tonight, however, the guards scored all but 11 of the team's points. SIU started a four-guard lineup with no player taller than 6-foot-6, and Hinson acknowledged that he's worried that projected starting forward Dantiel Daniels may be out for the season with an injury. Daniels led the conference in blocks last season and made the All-Freshman team.
"I'm really worried about our depth with our big guys," he said. "I think we're going to have to learn how to play some zone."
SIU hosts Upper Iowa in an exhibition game next Saturday at 7:05 p.m.