Men's Basketball travels to Western Kentucky for Wednesday night matchup

    Antonio Bryer has returned to the team.

    Antonio Bryer has returned to the team.
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    Dec. 4, 2012

    By Dustin Carlisle and Tim McCaughan

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois (4-1) plays at Western Kentucky (6-2) on Wednesday night in a men's basketball game that will be televised live on ESPN Full Court and streamed on ESPN3. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

    Head coach Barry Hinson met with the media before Tuesday's practice and announced that sophomore forward Antonio Bryer, who left the team a day earlier, has returned to the program.

    Coach Hinson press conference transcript

    "Antonio Bryer called me last evening, along with his mother and informed me that he had made a mistake and that he would like to be back with the program and back with the team. I visited with his mother, I visited with him at length and we think that it is the best thing for our program at this time to allow him to come back and be a part of this family. This is something that he alluded to me last night. I slept on it, I met with my staff and administration this morning and we are confident that he is coming back for the right reasons. We are confident that this is in the best interest of both parties and we would not do this if we did not think it was in the best interest of both parties."

    Is Antonio eligible to play tomorrow?

    He is eligible to play and he will make the trip. Consequently if we get in foul trouble, we will have another body to put on the floor. We poke fun at it but that is the truth.

    What did the win last week versus Fresno State do for the team's confidence and how has it carried over to practice?

    Our practices have been better. I think they have been better because we challenged our guys. Today is going to be a big day for us because a week ago today we didn't have a good practice and we had to throw them out. It will be interesting to see how they respond today. I'm looking forward to see how they respond after the press conference. I don't know if I can answer that question until I see how we play the next game or even how we play our next home game. I think the greatest effect that game had was how our fans felt. Everywhere I go in the community, fans are talking about how excited they are, and how they want to be a part of the program again and how they want to come to the games. I think that is great, and I say that with caution. That one win doesn't erase the roller coaster or the difficulties that we are getting ready to face as a basketball team. We still have the same guys we started the season with and we know there are challenges in front of us, and we know there are going to be difficult games in front of us. When you win games like that you can always revert back to them.



    Were you happy with the student turn out?

    I was thrilled with the student turn out. I had an opportunity to visit with all the incoming freshmen the night before. We had almost a thousand students here, not about basketball, but just about life in general. I got to share a few of my points and my challenges for them. Certainly it coincided with their attendance at the game and I thought that was good. I make no bones about it. We need our sixth man. We cannot win basketball games without our sixth man. We're not good enough. I'm sorry, but that's reality. I don't live in fantasy world. We have a crowd that can be great and when our crowd is great it gives us an opportunity for us to be better than what we actually are. Everybody knows you can play off of excitement and when our crowd provides that like they did the other night, certainly you saw what happened. It could have easily gone the other way, but it didn't.

    How important do expect the rebounding battle for tomorrow night?

    They had 18 offensive rebounds in their last game. When you go out on the floor and there's a chance that everybody is 6-5 or 6-6 and under you have to be really concerned. The two keys for this game we thought were how can we get stops and how can we get rebounds?

    Is Western Kentucky going to be your biggest challenge this year?

    No, I don't think so. I think everybody we face right now is a difficult challenge for us right now. At the end of the year maybe I can measure that. I know its a very difficult place to play. I know they're coming off of a NCAA playoff berth last season. I know they're 6-2 and have played well on the road. It will be interesting to see how we respond.

    They play well in transition. Will you be able to send five guys for the offensive rebounds?

    No, we can't do that. We know we have to get back down the floor. We know they're going to cause us some difficulty in the rebounding war. We got to make sure that the guys we do send to the glass are capable of coming up with it and certainly one of those guys is Jeff Early.

    Do you expect to use the same starting lineup for this game?

    I would really like to settle down to where we have a routine, but I'm coming to a fact and agreement with my coaching staff that that's just not going to be possible with this group of guys. I got a bunch of knuckleheads, a bunch of goobers, and they can just mess up at anytime, but with that being said, I think we are getting closer and closer to a routine. I'm not a superstitious guy at all, but I do like routines and there's a huge difference.

    How do you try to match their toughness tomorrow?

    This is a learning curve for us. We are still figuring out our players and our players are still trying to figure us out. They've only seen us get beat once. They saw how we reacted at the time. It was more of a collective effort type deal where we came in the locker room and we discussed the game. They've seen my wrath in practice and glimpses of it during a game, but not after like I felt like we didn't compete. The second half of Saint Louis we competed and fought. If we get to a point in this next game where we don't compete then certainly it will change.