Anthony Beane scored 13 points for SIU.
Nov. 25, 2013
By Tom Weber
ESTERO, Fla. - St. Bonaventure made 10-of-21 shots from 3-point range to subdue Southern Illinois, 83-71, on Monday night in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Showcase tournament.
The Bonnies (4-1) were expecting to see a zone defense tonight from their opponent and they were ready for it. Matthew Wright made 5-of-10 shots from outside the arc and scored 32 points, while Charlon Kloof was 3-of-5, and Andell Cumberbatch made 2-of-4 treys.
"We knew going into the game that Southern was small and was going to play 2-3 zone," said St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt. "We worked on it and knew we'd have to make some shots. Everyone had played us man-to-man because we're much more of an attacking team, but we had to shoot the ball tonight."
The Salukis (1-4) started a lineup with just one player taller than 6-foot-5. With such a stark difference in size and length against an opponent that featured a 7-foot center in Youssou Ndoye, plus four other players 6-7 or taller, SIU head coach Barry Hinson had little flexibility in his game plan.
"We told (our players) over and over, we're going to let them settle for the three," Hinson said. "They shot 26 percent coming into the game. There had been so many comments publicly that they don't do a very good job against the zone, obviously that was our game plan."
The strategy paid off in some respects for SIU, which was able to utilize its quickness off the dribble on offense. Desmar Jackson continued his torrid play with a 25-point outing, going 11-for-11 from the free throw line. Undersized power forward Jalen Pendleton maneuvered his way to the basket for 13 points, and guard Anthony Beane also scored 13.
"Jackson's one of the best guards we'll face this year," Schmidt said. "He's smooth, he's long, he gets to the foul line. He's a really good offensive player and we had our hands full all night."
The Salukis shot 71 percent from the field in the second half, but by putting the ball on the floor so much, they turned it over 18 times in the game and had only five assists. Starting point guard Marcus Fillyaw played just 16 minutes due to foul trouble.
Although SIU never led in the contest, it kept things interesting with an 8-0 run in the first half and a 9-0 run in the second. After Wright completed a four-point play to put SBU ahead, 63-47, the Salukis ran off nine unanswered points that featured a 3-pointer by Beane and a one-handed slam by Jackson. However, Kloof responded with a clutch 3-pointer to give the Bonnies a double-digit lead, 66-56, and they later led by as many as 19 points.
"We handled adversity," Schmidt said. "When a team makes a run you want to answer it."
Southern is without a Division I win after five games for the first time since turning Division I in 1968. SIU will play Stetson (0-6), which is also looking for its first DI win this season, Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. CT.