Kendal Brown-Surles is one of three seniors to play their final home game at SIU Arena on Wednesday.
Feb. 26, 2013
By Dustin Carlisle
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois (12-16, 4-12) will host Northern Iowa (17-12, 10-6) on Senior Night at SIU Arena on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.
SIU has won four of its last six games, including four-straight at home. UNI has won six of its last seven games, but is coming off a loss to Denver, in which top scorer Anthony James was injured.
Northern Iowa coasts past Men's Basketball, 58-45
Northern Iowa used suffocating defense and timely 3-point shooting to coast past Southern Illinois, 58-45, on Wednesday night.
Head coach Barry Hinson met with the media prior to Tuesday's practice.
Q: "How do you defend (Marc) Sonnen and (Seth) Tuttle for tomorrow's game?"
"Well, I think the secret, any time you play Northern Iowa, is you have to be able to score against them. When you score it gives you a little energy defensively, but we struggled at Northern Iowa to score. We only had 22 points at halftime and we really didn't score much in the second half. The problem that they cause defensively for us is everybody stays in the paint and we got to make outside shots. We don't really have a lot of guys that can score from the perimeter, so it's going to be big for us to make some baskets on the perimeter. The other side of that coin is, offensively, they stretch you so much, because they can shoot the three and it opens up driving lanes. It also puts your big guys in a predicament, like Davante (Drinkard) and Dantiel (Daniels) end up having to guard a guard and that's kind of difficult for those guys, but when you're home you play with a little more energy and more enthusiasm. When it's senior night it's certainly more hyped up and sometimes senior night can be too hyped up. You have to deal with the hype early, focus and play the game, and hopefully at the end of the game enjoy it with your family and friends.
"I've said this and I mean this -- I think there's two big games you play throughout a season. The first one that comes in second in order is senior night. I think it's the second most important game of the year, because you have individuals that have made a commitment or given the opportunity to come to this university and made a decision to do this, whether it be four years ago or two years ago. We are fortunate to have a young man play here for four years and two young men who actually came together and gave us two great years. It's an opportunity for us to repay them for their commitment to this university. I tell our guys that this university and our fans made a commitment the last four or two years and it's your opportunity to give back to them in your last game and your last presence on that court. I've been telling all three of these seniors since December that it's going to go fast and you're going to look up and it's going to be over. I came out to practice not too long ago and said we've got 12 days left. Our guys understand that."
Q: "How much better is Northern Iowa then the last time you saw them?"
"They're obviously pretty good. They've won six out of their last seven. I don't think you can take away from their last lost, because anybody that would have played Denver in the Missouri Valley Conference, not knowing that system and competing against it over and over. That's the true Princeton back-door, everybody can shoot. That's a hard system to prepare for, so when Northern Iowa got Denver, I was like, wow that's the worst game you could possibly get. It's unlike anybody else in the league plays. Six wins out of the last seven games though, they're pretty good."
Q: "What was the biggest takeaway from Saturday's overtime win for you?"
"I think the biggest take for me as coach was, why were we so flat for 39 minutes and 56 seconds? We addressed that on Monday and we had a team meeting. I talked about things that were important, and I went ahead and I defined once again everybody's role from the guy that sits on the bench to the manager to the assistant to the head coach, what everybody's role during a ballgame, and hopefully it will show up. We're getting better, because we do not stop teaching. We will not stop teaching. Every day, that's why we are getting better."
Q: "Why is your offense so much better with Kendal (Brown-Surles) on the floor?"
"Well, one, he's a point guard and when he comes out of the game, we don't have another point guard. We just don't have one and when Kendal comes out of the ball game, we don't run very well when Kendal is not on the floor. It's like missing a spark plug. I mean, we are really struggling. He is the key for us, because at least he makes us do the right thing."
Q: "What about next year? Who is going to be your point guard next year? Jalen Pendleton?"
"We're actively recruiting point guards right now. So if Jalen (Pendleton) is our point guard right now, then no, we are going to be in trouble. We did sign a high school kid. K.C. Goodwin plays point guard in Memphis, but I would rather not throw a high school kid into that mix if I can help it. So we are actively recruiting point guards that can come in immediately and play for us."
Q: "How important is it to you to win this game and to have a winning record at home?"
"I think it's more important for the kids, because I want it for them. It's important to me, because it's important for our fans and important for our players. I see big picture and we got a long ways to go. We know next year at times could be more difficult. Right now, I want us to win for two reasons. I want to win for our players and I want to win for our fans. I'm the least of the worries here. I want to win every game, don't get me wrong, but I think when you have a goal or when you set forth a plan, the accomplishment should be for the group itself. The group right now is our players and our fans. I can't go anywhere in this community, I mean anywhere, that people aren't excited and talking about Saluki basketball, and our kids see that. That makes me feel good. They are talking about how hard we play, how we play together and how unselfish we are. At the same time, I think the timeperiodswhere we do play selfish and we don't play hard, but that's my job as the coach. I'm never all the way happy. That's my life."
Q: "How important is it for you guys to spoil Northern Iowa's chances to win the Missouri Valley Conference?"
"I've said this the last two weeks. Nobody scares me. We scare us. We have not focused as much on Northern Iowa as we have, what do we do? We've got to guard well. We got to limit their offensive possessions and we got to play better on offense. We have to playextremely unselfish and we have to have energy from our crowd in order to make a couple of shots here and there. That's going to be it. It's pretty simple to my mind, really, and it's important for me for these kids. We can make anything a mess. So when I said we've got to do stuff, it's more about us then it is about anybody else."
Q: "Jeff (Early) has been a great hybrid this year, in a perfect world will a hybrid always be a part of your team?"
"I hope so. It's always been that way. I would like to have a little moreheighton my hybrid if we could in the future, and certainly we are recruiting that way. You all laughed when I talked about Jeff Early and the hybrid. When you look at it, I think it fits our style, how we want to play and what we want to do. Everybody is talking about Jeff right now, but look at what Josh Swan did before he got injured. The impact that he made and the commitment he made to our program. So hopefully we will be able to add to that."
Q: "Did Josh Swan's surgery go well?"
"Yeah, it went well. He will be dressed in street clothes on the bench. He will be out probably 6-8 weeks and then we'll start putting him through workouts."
Q: "You said you were really nervous going to last Saturday's game, because you had some rough practices. What about this week going into tomorrow?"
"I think we had a decent practice yesterday and we're going to have a great practice today. I've always said this, I believe you play like you practice and I'm big on that. We'll have to have a spirited practice today. We had a great team meeting yesterday and we had a good practice."