Dec. 18, 2011
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois will host SIUE on Monday at 7:05 p.m. in the first meeting between the sister schools since 1987 and just the fourth meeting all-time.
Saluki fans who bring a new or gently used toy to the Saluki Athletics ticket office during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) will receive a $5 off coupon for a Saluki Basketball ticket. An additional drop-off box will be located at the administrative offices of Lingle Hall.
"The community has warmly welcomed me in the short time I've been here, and this is a way to give back," said Whitt. "No one gets to where they are without being given an opportunity or a little help. Just giving a kid a toy can help spark their imagination, which is really important."
Toys will be provided to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program for distribution. Whitt said the goal is to gather 500 toys.
Defense yet to yield 65 points
Lost amid the team's offens
ive struggles is the fact SIU has yet to allow an opponent to score 65 points in a game. The streak of seven-straight opponents below 65 points is the longest since 2007, when that team held eight-straight opponents below the mark from Nov. 22 to Dec. 18. For the season, the Salukis surrender an average of just 58.7 ppg, which ranks 27th in the nation.
Rough start for inexperienced Salukis
Missing four of its core players, the Salukis started the season 1-5. During most of that span, the team dressed just nine guys -- seven of who are in their first season of Division I basketball (four freshmen and three JUCO transfers).
Short-handed no more
On Dec. 17 at Northern Illinois, the Salukis returned three players to the active roster -- each with starting experience. Point guard Kendal Brown-Surles and forward Davante Drinkard had missed the team's first six games in order to focus on academics. Also returning was forward Dantiel Daniels, who had missed three games with a pulled groin. The only player who is still sidelined is starting guard Justin Bocot, who remains suspended from the team.
KBS sets career-highs in return
In his first game back, G Kendal Brown-Surles (5-10, 170, Jr.) had career-highs in points (19) and steals (5) at Northern Illinois. A cousin of head coach Chris Lowery, Brown-Surles was the team's top 3-point shooter last season and ranked 8th in the MVC with a .396 percentage.
Mamadou Seck is Go-To guy
The undisputed go-to guy on Southern's roster is F Mamadou Seck (6-7, 220, Sr.), who leads the team in scoring (14.1 ppg), rebounding (9.0 rpg) and assists (17). The Senegal native has two double-doubles on the season, giving him nine in his two-year career.
Series vs. SIUE
Southern Illinois leads the all-time series versus SIUE, 3-0. The brief series began in 1985 under head coach Rich Herrin and ended in 1987. The Salukis won twice at home and once on the road.