Men's Basketball hosts Loyola on Saturday on Hall of Fame weekend at SIU

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    Jan. 31, 2014

    By Tom Weber

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois (7-15, 3-6) hosts Loyola(8-13, 3-6) on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. at SIU Arena. The Salukis beat Loyola on Jan. 8 behind a career-high 31-point outing by Desmar Jackson. He also made the game-winning assist, dishing to Jalen Pendleton for the go-ahead score with 5.8 seconds remaining.

    It's Hall of Fame weekend at SIU, and Jerry Kill (Football Head Coach), Mark Gagliano (Football), Mickey Maule (Tennis), Brittany Riley (Track & Field), Joe Schley (Baseball) and Amarachi Ukabam (Track & Field) will be recognized at halftime.

    The Last Meeting
    Southern Illinois71
    January 8, 2014
    Chicago, Ill.
    Desmar Jackson leads Men's Basketball past Loyola-Chicago
    Desmar Jackson dominated on both ends of the court, scoring a career-high 31 points, while adding six assists and four steals to lift Southern Illinois past Loyola-Chicago, 71-67, on Wednesday night.

    Southern Illinois (7-15, 3-6) vs. Loyoyla (8-13, 3-6)
     Date Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014
     Time 3:05 p.m. CT
     Location Carbondale, Ill. - SIU Arena
     Radio Saluki Sports Network
     TV None
     Video Stream Saluki All-Access
     Game Notes Southern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader
     Live Stats Gametracker
     Social Media @SIU_Basketball

    What has changed about Loyola since you beat them in Chicago?

    When you look at Loyola, statistically speaking, they are better in every category than us with the exception of steals and rebounding. There's about 20 categories and they're better than us in 18 categories. I don't want to use the word `trap game' because I think that's false when you're in last place, I don't know how it could be a trap game. Our biggest challenge is how mature can we be after coming off a really good win over a really good basketball team. Are our bellies going to be too full, our eyes bigger than our stomach? Are we too cool for school?

    Talk about your three freshmen.

    The three freshmen have changed everything, now how long that can last, I don't know. I hope it will sustain us. We made a decision as a staff -- specifically the head coach's decision -- let's play the guys who are going to be here in the future and the guys we feel like will allow us to coach them the way we want.

    Talk about the logjam in the MVC standings from teams 3-10.

    We put ourselves in a position to not play on Thursday night, but we also put ourselves in a bad position to play on Thursday night because of what happened against Evansville and Drake here. We are definitely backed into the corner and we have a sense of urgency. We do have a chance to play on Friday, but of all the teams, we probably have the worst chance. I'm just being honest with you. When you lose at home to Drake and Evansville and you're tied with those guys, and you have to go their place, that's when you put yourself in a predicament. After Saturday, five of our last eight games are on the road, and those are tough places to play, and our road record has not been shining. In my mind, you have to get to nine wins if you don't want to play on Thursday.

    Have you talked to Desmar (Jackson) about not getting fouls so far away from the basket?

    We've not talked about that. The greatest teacher is when you have to sit on the bench. The encouraging thing was we were able to increase the lead while he sat on the bench. Everybody's always asking what are you going to do when Desmar is gone? I think the other night gave us a little hope and glimpse of the future.

    With it being Hall of Fame weekend, it could be a pretty special weekend?

    I think the next two weekends are going to be pretty special. Hall of Fame weekend this weekend and the 100 Years of Basketball next weekend. If you're an SIU fan right now, these next two weekends are going to be big. I could not be any happier with our fans. We're seventh in attendance right now and with our record I think that's great. I bet we end up fifth or sixth in attendance. This is why I wanted this job because of the undying love and tradition of basketball in Southern Illinois. I'm so humbled to be a part of it.

    Can you talk about the similarities between you and Coach Kill?

    You know, I get that a lot and I've never met Coach Kill. I'm like a kid in a candy store. I'm excited to meet this guy. Everybody tells me we're two peas in a pod and I take that as a great compliment. If anybody wants to compare me to Jerry Kill, I'll take that as a huge compliment.