Desmar Jackson scored 19 points and added seven rebounds and six steals.
Nov. 3, 2012
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois rallied for a 73-62 win over a scrappy Upper Iowa team, finishing the game on an 18-6 run in an exhibition contest at SIU Arena on Saturday.
The Division II Peacocks led, 56-55, after a layup by Mike Lafrenze with 4:31 to go. The Salukis then reeled off 13-straight points.
Prior to the decisive run, SIU suffered through a nine-minute scoring drought. From the 13:11 mark until Jeff Early made a free throw with 4:06 remaining, the Saluki offense was 0-for-9 from the field, 0-for-3 from the free throw line and committed three turnovers.
"At that last media timeout, we challenged them, and they accepted the challenge," head coach Barry Hinson said. "I think that's a huge step."
Desmar Jackson made SIU's first field goal in 10 minutes with a pull-up jumper with 3:07 to go that gave Southern a 59-56 lead. He was SIU's leading scorer for the second-straight exhibition game with 19 points, while adding seven rebounds and six steals.
Hinson used a five-guard lineup for stretches of time in the second half, and the size disadvantage allowed Upper Iowa big man Tucker Wentzien to exploit mismatches. He led the Peacocks with 16 points.
"We played the smallest team, maybe in the history of the NCAA tonight, and they kept throwing it inside, and there was nothing we could do about it," Hinson said.
Although the Salukis recorded 14 steals in the game, Hinson mocked the defensive effort, saying his players were dribbled past too many times.
"We call it the Tijuana defense," he joked. "When you've got a bull coming right at you, just let them go through. We put that in last week."
The teams combined to commit 49 fouls in the game, and Southern was whistled 22 times.
"We have a lot of guys that like to gamble on defense," Hinson said. "Apparently, we've been doing that for a long time around here. There's a new sheriff in town, and that has to stop, because that's about as bad a defense as I've seen a team play in my regime in a long time."
Upper Iowa shot 48 percent from the field, and the outcome may have been different had the Peacocks not missed a dozen free throws.
Both teams came out of the gate sluggishly on offense in the first half. Eight minutes into the game, each team had converted just one field goal, and the Salukis led, 9-6, on the strength of seven free throws.
SIU led at halftime, 37-32, but Upper Iowa shot 52 percent in the second half. Hinson implied that his undersized team might need to play zone this season, but he wasn't willing to take that step during an exhibition game.
"I wanted to make sure we get through the game, guard them man, learn how to play and fight through it," he explained. "I was willing to lose a game in order to learn a lesson."
The Salukis played without sophomore forward Dantiel Daniels, who is expected to miss at least the first two games of the regular season with a groin injury.
Southern opens the regular season at New Orleans on Nov. 12, before returning home to face Benedictine University-Springfield on Nov. 17.
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