Feb. 7, 2012
By Tim McCaughan
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois (8-16, 5-8) will host Missouri State (14-11, 7-6) in a Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball matchup at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday.
Saluki basketball coach Chris Lowery took questions from the media prior to Tuesday's practice.
Will cutting down on your turnovers and getting off to a good start help?
The first game (against Missouri State) we turned the ball over way too much, and we turned them over as well, having 20 turnovers each I believe. We have to be smart and not foul.
How unusual is it to see a team be better on the road in MVC play?
It's not unusual if you are in the Valley lead like Wichita and Creighton, they should be better on the road because they are two elite teams. Missouri State has played better on the road, especially how they played last week at Drake.
Why have they been so effective at causing turnovers?
They get a lot of turnovers by taking charges. They funnel you into their traps and double teams.
How different are they without (Caleb) Patterson, if he doesn't play tomorrow?
There is a good and a bad to it. The bad is that (Kyle) Weems can play the five, and he is a mismatch. He is able to do what he did last year in have different people guard him and have the advantage. With Caleb you have two guys that can really shoot the threes, one is 6-11 and the other is really a good post player, too. Having Caleb back it allows them to have a good post guy and a shooter on the other side of Weems.
Do you expect to use Harry Whitt more this time? Last game (against MSU) he was kind of a spark plug when he came in.
Harry is playing every game now. We are going to see how we're doing. We didn't make Caleb guard the last time. Dantiel (Daniels) was not where he is now. The biggest thing for us is to make those guys guard.
That is what we want to do, but we fouled too much. Even though we had 14 steals, we allowed them to get to the double bonus fairly quick in the second half. We have to guard without fouling.
How important is it to frustrate (Michael) Bizoukas as you did last game?
He is only averaging three points in league play. He frustrates himself when he has several zeros and doesn't score. What we can't do is allow him to have free ins, and be able to dictate. He hasn't shown that he wants to score or triesto score at all. But when you play off of him and allow him to direct traffic and get the ball to Weems, and get the ball to certain guys that are hot, that is when he is very good.
Will Kourtney (Goff) start again?
Kourtney is going to start again.
You have proven you can win without hitting a lot of threes, but would it be good to get Kendal and T.J. going again?
We definitely have to get more consistency from the perimeter. What Jeff (Early) is doing is really in the lane and around the rim. We really have to spread the defense more. T.J. is starting to come back for us. He played well for us down the stretch against Evansville. Confidence is a shot away and I think both of those guys will start to shoot the ball better again.
Do you feel you can contain Weems?
It is a different type of matchup. We will probably have Mamadou starting on him. (Jarmar) Gulley is really the guy that has played well for them all season. Gulley is the key, he hurt us with his dribble penetration and offensive rebounding. He is the x-factor that you have to contain as opposed to everyone else.
How much of Jeff's play is rubbing off onto the other guys?
He needs to keep doing what he is doing, and the other guys need to step up. I think when you have a new guy that comes in and is an emotional leader like he is, and thriving on guarding the best guys, and getting the crowd into the game especially at home, that is contagious and I think it has been infectious to everyone. He has to keep playing at that level and the other guys have to catch up.
Has there been any progress with Davante's foot?
No, he is still on crutches, and Josh (Swan) is still out with the stress fracture.
When you win a close game like Saturday's, what does that do for your guys'confidence topull one out like that?
I don't think there is an ugly win. Blowouts are fun for one team, the team that wins, and it's ugly when you lose. It was good for us because we needed a win like that.That's how we played when we were good. We played a lot of close games and we won. It teaches kids how to be leaders, and it teaches them to thrive under pressure and accept it. It was good to experience that and make our fans stand up. It has been a long time since we have made our fans stand up. When Jeff stole the ball, everyone stood up, and that is good for the kids to experience that.
Does it help already having this (Paul Lusk) matchup already out of the way?
It wasn't a big deal then. We talk a lot, other than when we are playing. It is a great story for the first time, but now it's not a story anymore.