Davante Drinkard played a career-high 29 minutes versus Wichita State on Tuesday.
Feb. 7, 2013
By Amanda Erd
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Fresh off an upset of No. 22 Wichita State, the Southern Illinois men's basketball team plays at Indiana State on Saturday. The game will be televised locally on WSIU at noon.
The Salukis (9-14, 2-10) are trying to win back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference games for the first time since beating Illinois State and Bradley on Jan. 1-4, 2012 -- a span of 27 games. They are also looking to snap a 13-game conference road losing streak. The Sycamores (15-8, 8-4) are tied for second place in the MVC and will look to avenge a five-point loss at SIU on Jan. 12.
Desmar Jackson's career-high 29 points leads Men's Basketball past Indiana State, 76-71
A little defense and a lot of Desmar Jackson were all Southern Illinois needed to pull off a surprising upset of Indiana State, 76-71, on Saturday night before 5,315 fans at SIU Arena.
Q: Was Tuesday a breakthrough for you guys and the team?
A: Well, I don't know if it was a breakthrough. I think breakthrough means you start down the right path. We can look back, I think, in two to three weeks and see if this was a break through game for us. Much-needed is an understatement. We needed this for more...for all the reasons you can imagine. For not only our program, but for our fans. Everybody that's involved with the program needed it. And that's what I said the other night, that I was happy. I was really happy for a lot of people. And I think, you know, someone asked me if I was happy and I said 'It's not so much important that I'm happy, it's really important if the people surrounding the program are happy.' I think when they do that, if everyone else is happy then I'm happy and I think that's a major breakthrough for us.
Q: It gets you out of the fragile state at least?
A: The teams that come in here now, they know that score. And now they know even if they get up, there's a little bit of that fear factor now. So we earned a little bit more respect. You know, we've got two victories. And one is against the hottest team in the league right now and the other one is against the other team that's in second. Both teams are in second, I guess. But that's our only two victories, so if our guys can relate to that we can play with anybody, and one of those happens to be ranked 22nd in the country, I hope that'll take part of that fragile away.
Q: You were able to force 19 turnovers last time you played Indiana State. Do you feel that is something you can do again?
A: I don't know. I hope so. They're a completely different team and we're a completely different team. They are really, really playing well right now. If I had to say this, and I don't think it's any gamble, I think they're the best team in the Valley right now. I don't think there's any question. I think they've proven that winning by the margin that they did at Wichita State, winning by the margin which they did versus Creighton. That's pretty impressive. And you throw in there all their other wins in the non-conference schedule...our win against them is looking a whole lot better than what it did originally. The thing that we're playing Indiana State for now is, you know, they're playing for revenge factor but they're playing to win the Valley. They've got a chance to win the Valley championship now and they can smell it. So we know, much like every other game we've played this year, we're catching them at the worst time.
Q: Do you think Indiana State is a Top 25 team as of late?
A: I think they're playing like it. I mean sure, I definitely think they're a top 25 team. I think they're playing like it. A lot of it has to do with Jake Odum. I haven't been in the league all the years that Jake has been here but certainly he is the head of the snake.
Q: Do you think some of the guys, guys like T.J. Lindsay, are starting to find their shot a little bit?
A: You know, I think you can ask me that question next week about this time and I'll let you know. I don't think one game takes care of everything. We really shot the basketball well against Wichita State. For whatever reason, a lot of it has to do with being in your home gym and your home crowd. It'll be interesting to see how we shoot the ball at Indiana State, because now you're on the road again and you're in kind of a bigger arena. It'll be interesting to see. But I think you can ask me that next week and I'll have a better answer for you.
Q: You had some good, quality minutes from Davante last game. Do you think you can rely on him again against Indiana State to help you out?
A: I hope so. We need quality minutes out of Davante, we really do. They're big. And they've got big guys and we need our big guys to be productive in this game in order for us to be successful. That was a shot in the arm the other night for Davante. That was a shot in the arm for our team.
Q: Do you have to open the driving lanes against them on Saturday? You were able to do that the first time around.
A: Yeah, I think the way they guard we will have driving lanes if we're smart enough to do that. I'll give you the same quote I told our team before Wichita State. Nobody we play scares me. I'm concerned about them. There's a difference. But nobody we play scares me. We scare me. We do and as long as we stay focused and those guys do what we ask them to do, I think we have a chance to hang in there with pretty much anybody.