December 31, 2012
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The stage was set for a storybook return for first-year Saluki Basketball head coach Barry Hinson in Springfield last night, but the Bears would not accommodate their former head coach, shooting lights out and snapping an eight-game losing streak.
1. If you had told me Nathan Scheer was going to go 5-for-5 on 3-point tries for Missouri State, I would not have believed it. He shot 27 percent last year from three and was shooting 26 percent heading into Sunday's game. Of course, if you had told me Jalen Pendleton would go 3-for-4 from outside the arc for Southern, I wouldn't have believed that, either. The game didn't come down to 3-point shooting, as both teams shot the ball extremely well from the perimeter.
2. The game turned in the first half when Desmar Jackson picked up his second foul just six minutes into the game. He did not play the final 14 minutes of the half. It was no coincidence that Scheer made three-straight treys shortly after Jackson left the game. That would have been Jackson's defensive matchup. Southern needs Jackson on the floor 30+ minutes per game to have a realistic chance of winning games in the Valley. He brings so much on both ends of the court.
3. The tide was turning in Southern's favor in the second half when it pulled ahead, 44-41, following a 12-2 run. The Salukis couldn't sustain the momentum, though, because Dantiel Daniels left the game at that point with an ankle sprain. Playing a five-guard lineup, SIU settled into a zone defense, and Missouri State picked it apart rather easily during a 17-2 run of its own. Again, it was Southern's defense that was the culprit as MSU scored buckets on five-straight possessions.
Barry Hinson received a warm welcome from Missouri State fans on Sunday.
6. Hinson could not have been more gracious after the game, especially in light of the extreme disappointment of losing a very winnable game to a school that fired you just four years earlier. He went out of his way to praise Lusk. He was a class act and it's easy to see why Springfield remains so fond of him.
7. Lusk was gracious as well, although he admitted it was not as much of an emotional game for him as it was for Hinson. "I thought our fans did a great job of welcoming Barry Hinson back," Lusk said. "It's about being classy. The guy did a lot for Missouri State - probably should have been to the NCAA Tournament a couple times."
8. It appears Daniels will be sidelined for at least a few games with an ankle sprain. Last year, he missed part or all of five games with a pulled groin. The Salukis went 1-4 without Daniels, beating only Chicago State. It's pretty simple -- they can't afford to be without the big guy for very long. The only other big man on the roster at this point is Davante Drinkard.
9. Daniels played 20 minutes before his injury last night and had three assists. MSU was absolutely swarming him whenever he touched the ball, all but ignoring Southern's perimeter shooters. Daniels did a nice job of kicking the ball out to the open man. Southern was last in 3-point shooting in the MVC a year ago, but they are sixth this year, converting .329.
10. Southern was last in 3-point shooting defense in the MVC a year ago, and they have staked a claim on last once again this year. They are allowing opponents to convert .365. Wednesday's opponent, Bradley, is ninth in 3-point shooting at .286. Only Missouri State (.280) is worse.