Men's Basketball holds on for 71-66 exhibition win over Missouri-St. Louis

    Anthony Beane scored 21 points for SIU.

    Anthony Beane scored 21 points for SIU.
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    Nov. 2, 2013

    By Tom Weber

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Desmar Jackson and Anthony Beane combined to score 50 points for Southern Illinois, which held on to beat Missouri-St. Louis, 71-66, in an exhibition game at SIU Arena on Saturday night.

    Jackson, a preseason All-Conference pick, finished with 29 points and did not leave the floor in the second half, as the visiting Tritons gave Southern all it could handle. In fact, UMSL had a chance to tie the game with two seconds left, but Femi John tossed up an air ball on a 3-point attempt.

    The Salukis then sealed the victory at the free throw line as Jackson made both shots with 0.6 to go. He was 13-of-16 from the charity stripe on the night, while Beane, who scored 21 points, was 11-of-12 from the line.

    "Not one thing tonight surprised me," said SIU head coach Barry Hinson. "If you could have had a one-point win and had to play your tail off, that's far better than a 20-point blowout."

    Coming into the game, Southern knew what to expect from the highly touted tandem of Jackson and Beane. The big question that remains to be answered is which players will step forward in supporting roles. Eight newcomers received minutes for SIU and they combined to score 13 points.

    "Every one of them were one shade off albino -- they were scared to death," Hinson said. "Sean O'Brien was so scared, Bronson Verhines won a national championship and he was scared, and Bola (Olaniyan) bless his heart, he wasn't even here -- he was still in Nigeria."

    Much has been made of the new manner of officiating that is designed to allow the offense more freedom. Fifty fouls were called in the game, including 30 against UMSL, somewhat restricting the flow of the game.

    Hinson was disappointed in the play of his front court, which was unable to take advantage of an UMSL lineup that played most of the game without a player on the floor taller than 6-foot-4. Starting forwards Davante Drinkard and Verhines each scored six points for the Salukis. SIU's big men also had trouble containing their smaller counterparts on defense.

    "I'm disappointed in our defense," Hinson said. "Our on-the-ball defense was pretty good, obviously, because we just let them go anywhere they wanted to go."

    One of the keys to this season for Southern will be finding a replacement at the hybrid forward position that was manned so effectively last year by Jeff Early. In addition to his six points, Verhines had a team-high eight rebounds. He split time with freshman Sean O'Brien, who scored two points.

    "Bronson and Sean didn't play as well as I thought they'd play," Hinson said. "I expected them to play better offensively, and defensively I expected them to struggle a little bit. I have two good hybrids, though. I like them."

    At media day earlier this month, Hinson predicted his team would improve upon its 32 percent shooting from 3-point range last year. That didn't happen tonight, as the Salukis were 0-for-11.

    "It better be a blip," he said. "It's a blip, I promise you. All of our shooting percentages in practices have gone up."

    UMSL was a last-minute replacement for Harris-Stowe, which was the originally scheduled opponent for tonight's game.

    "We owe a huge thanks to UMSL and (head coach) Bob Sundvold," Hinson said. "They absolutely rescued us in a dire situation."