Men's Basketball overwhelms Stetson, 67-48, at Gulf Coast Showcase tournament

    Sean O'Brien had nine points and eight rebounds off the bench for SIU.

    Sean O'Brien had nine points and eight rebounds off the bench for SIU.
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    Nov. 26, 2013

    By Tom Weber

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    ESTERO, Fla. - Southern Illinois played suffocating defense and had key contributions from a couple of reserves to overwhelm Stetson, 67-48, on the second day of the Gulf Coast Showcase on Tuesday.

    The Salukis (2-4) led by five at halftime, but blew the game open by holding the Hatters (0-7) without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the second half. Stetson was limited to 31 percent shooting in the game, including 4-for-25 from 3-point range.

    "That's going to be the key for us is being able to guard," said SIU head coach Barry Hinson. "We guarded better tonight than we have in a long time."

    Offensively, Southern survived an off night by leading scorer Desmar Jackson, who was 2-for-11 from the field and finished with nine points -- well below his 23-point average.

    "Dez is tired, he's worn out," said Hinson of his senior wing man. "We've ridden that horse pretty hard. Hopefully, we can get him fresh for tomorrow night."

    Sophomore guard Anthony Beane continued his hot shooting, connecting on 4-of-7 from outside the arc en route to a 20-point night. In the last two games, he's 7-of-11 from 3-point.

    "Anthony has shot the ball really well the last two games and he's really played within himself," Hinson noted.

    Perhaps the most encouraging sign for SIU was the play of reserve forwards Bola Olaniyan and Sean O'Brien. Olaniyan, who had not converted a field goal through four games, scored seven points and grabbed 11 rebounds. O'Brien had nine points and eight boards.

    "We need that out of our big guys," Hinson said. "We don't have an inside presence right now, and in our league, you have to have one of those."

    The Salukis also had more assists (11) than turnovers (10) for the first time this season. Point guard Marcus Fillyaw, who was limited to 16 minutes in last night's loss to St. Bonaventure due to foul trouble, bounced back with seven points, four assists and one turnover.

    "He didn't play much against St. Bonaventure and we had 18 turnovers and we struggled," Hinson said. "We need somebody to be able to help us when Marcus is not in the game and we're not quite there yet."

    After shooting 34 percent in the first half, SIU dropped in 11-of-21 second-half shots. The Salukis out-rebounded Stetson, 41-32, and had a 26-11 advantage in free throw attempts.

    "Our guards have played better trusting each other moving the ball," Hinson explained. "That's about as crisp of an offense as we've seen in the second half."

    Southern will play San Diego (6-1) in the tournament's fifth-place game at 1:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday.

    "I like these guys -- I think we have a chance," Hinson said. "We're going to go through some growing pains. We may have a year where we're better and have a worse record. We have young players with very little experience. Today, we had a little bit of maturation process."