Men's Basketball storms back to beat New Orleans, 74-61

    Dantiel Daniels slams home two of his 20 points vs. UNO.

    Dantiel Daniels slams home two of his 20 points vs. UNO.
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    Dec. 17, 2012

    By Tom Weber

    Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois survived a bit of a scare from New Orleans, trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half before storming back for a 74-61 victory on Monday night at SIU Arena.

    The game featured big runs by both teams. The Salukis (6-2) opened the contest with an 8-0 run, but the Privateers (3-6) countered with a 26-5 burst that temporarily stunned Southern.

    "We got up 8-0 and the peacock feathers went out -- hey, we're pretty good," said SIU head coach Barry Hinson. "The next thing you know it's a (26-5) run -- good gracious -- that's ridiculous. We have to keep our feathers in until the game is over."

    Southern played without the only point guard on its roster, Kendal Brown-Surles, who was sick with strep throat. The result was a first-half offense that was at times disoriented, committing 10 turnovers and shooting 33 percent from the field.

    "I think we saw tonight how important Kendal Brown is to our basketball team," Hinson said.

    Midway through the first half, Hinson switched to a five-guard lineup to spark his team, playing one stretch with no player on the floor taller than 6-foot-2. It worked, as Southern reversed the tide by closing the half on a 17-4 run.

    Key to the comeback was the play of freshman guards Anthony Beane and Jalen Pendleton who attacked the basket with the dribble and combined to score 15 of Southern's 30 first half points. Beane finished the game with 17 points and Pendleton added 14.

    "We've been playing Jalen at point guard every day in practice," Hinson noted. "If we had to take one by-product of the game, I thought Jalen played well. There were a couple of ninth-grade moves with the one assist and four turnovers, though."

    In the second half, SIU pulled away thanks to the superior inside play of Dantiel Daniels. New Orleans had no one who could stop the burly, 6-foot-5 forward, who scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the final 20 minutes.

    "I kept turning to my staff and saying, 'I can't get 'em going.'" Hinson explained. "They had no energy, nothing. In the locker room at halftime, I got after them. I really got after Dantiel, and hopefully, he'll respond like that every game."

    Daniels had a couple of thunderous dunks in the second half, including one with 11:46 remaining that put Southern up, 51-39.

    "I told the guys at halftime if you don't throw the ball in to Dantiel or you get driven to the basket, you're coming out of the game," Hinson said. "That worked pretty good for us."

    New Orleans made a late run, twice cutting the deficit to five points. A conventional 3-point play by Rarlensee Nelson made it 66-61 with 1:39 to go, but the Privateers turned the ball over on three-straight possessions to end the game.

    UNO shot 50 percent from the field compared to SIU's 46 percent, but the visitors committed 24 turnovers and surrendered 17 offensive rebounds to the Salukis. Privateer forward Lovell Cook carried his team with a 22-point outing.

    New Orleans is in the process of transitioning back to Division I status. Southern cruised to a 17-point victory in the season opener between the teams in New Orleans.

    Hinson said his team was tired and will not practice tomorrow, which is also a travel day for the squad. Southern heads to Utah for a three-game tournament Thursday through Saturday.