Feb. 15, 2013
By Tyler Wooten
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois (10-15, 3-11) will host Missouri State (8-16, 6-8) in a 7:05 p.m. men's basketball game on Saturday night at SIU Arena. It's Hall of Fame weekend at SIU, and the 2013 class will be introduced to the fans at halftime.
After beating Evansville on Wednesday, the Salukis are looking to post back-to-back conference wins for the first time since beating Illinois State and Bradley on Jan. 1 and 4, 2012 -- a span of 29 games.
Missouri State tops Men's Basketball, 70-59
Missouri State spoiled former head coach Barry Hinson's return to Springfield by beating Southern Illinois,70-59, on Sunday night in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams.
Q: "What were your impressions of Marcus Marshall since the first time you played Missouri State?"
"I just think Marshall and a lot of them -- they're a lot better ball club than what we played the first time. I think we're a lot better ball club, and we anticipate that Dantiel (Daniels) will get to play the entire ballgame this time, and I know that was a huge factor for us last time we played. He didn't get a chance to play the last 17 minutes, and that really hurt us. And it not only hurt us then, but it hurt us a lot of games going into the first half of the Missouri Valley Conference season. Now that we got those guys back and we're a little bit more healthy, it certainly helps us. I think you have two teams right now that are a lot better -- I think this has a chance to be a heck of a ball game."
Q: "Do you feel you can force turnovers against Missouri State, who defends the basketball fairly well?"
"I hope we can. Our defense is better, we had a really good practice today, I think our defensive gameplan is very good, we just gotta execute it."
Q: "Has your team had a breakthrough yet?"
"I think when you go win one, lose one, win one, lose one, I don't think that's a breakthrough. A breakthrough to me is when you get to the point that you're winning games in a row. I think when you win two or three games in a row and you get on somewhat of a streak, that's the difference. I think that qualifies as a breakthrough."
Q: "Was Jeff (Early) able to rest?"
"Jeff was doing really good today until Davante (Drinkard) set a linebacker criss-cross screen on him coming across the 20-yard line. He's hurt again. His mom and dad are here, I very much expect him to play, but doggone-it Davante just nailed the tar out of him, so we'll just wait and see."
Q: "Do you feel that Missouri State is the exception or the rule in this league by having freshmen that are playing well?"
"Well, I don't think they're freshmen, I think they're all sophomores. When you play as freshmen the entire year, when you get to the month of February, they're no longer freshmen. I don't consider Anthony (Beane, Jr.) or Jalen (Pendelton) freshmen right now -- I consider them sophomores. They make stupid decisions, they make dumb mistakes and their head goes sometimes -- I don't know, the mothership comes in and takes them back to whatever planet that freshmen come from. But, the mothership has brought them back and they're kinda playing well for us. Hopefully they'll continue to play well and make smart decisions."
Q: "What does this Hall of Fame weekend add to tomorrow night's game?"
"I've always said this about the Hall of Fame: it gives us an opportunity to take a breath, and to look back and to see the contributions an individual made not only to our program, but to our institution. We have six individuals that made dramatic impacts not only to the athletic program, but to our University. I actually know that one from our sport (Jamaal Tatum). I recruited him out of high school when he was a sophomore, I knew his mother and father well, and I can take great pride in this because we have a lot to do with him getting into the Hall of Fame by how we guarded him at Missouri State. Congratulations to Jamaal Tatum, and congratulations to the other recipients -- we are very proud of him."
Q: "How do you establish Dantiel early tomorrow?"
"I think the one thing that we do with Dantiel is we throw him the ball -- you gotta feed the big fella. If you feed him -- he's starting to get a lot more explosiveness, he's starting to play better, he's starting to get his confidence back, and certainly this is the Dantiel Daniels we thought we had on our ball club all along. He took about a ten-game hiatus, and a lot of that had to do with injury and it had to do with gaining your confidence back, but I do think he feels healthy, I think he's got most of his confidence back and I think he's really playing well for us."
Q: "As opposed to the first time, does this feel more like just another Valley matchup rather than all the hype surrounding your return to Springfield?"
"The drama is gone. It's not about me -- which, it should have never been about me -- it's about our players. The drama is gone, it's another game. And that's what I told our players in the locker room: it's another game, just play. And we also get the opportunity to honor one of our own that's coming back in Coach (Paul) Lusk. He's done a great job at Missouri State. I hope everybody in this community will rise to their feet when they announce the head coach of Missouri State because he is a Saluki. He played for us, he represented us, and we need to honor him with our applause when they introduce Paul Lusk because I'm certainly going to clap for him."
Q: "Have you seen good things from Davante in practice?"
"I really have. I've seen good things from both Davante and Dantiel. The other night, they scored a double-double for us -- 12 rebounds, 11 points -- and I think when those guys can have a double-double for us, we are a much better ball club."