Men's Basketball opens World Vision Challenge in Utah versus UC-Davis on Thursday

    Dantiel Daniels shoots free throws at the Spectrum on Wednesday night.

    Dantiel Daniels shoots free throws at the Spectrum on Wednesday night.
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    Dec. 19, 2012

    LOGAN, Utah - Southern Illinois (6-2) practiced Wednesday night at the Spectrum in preparation for Thursday night's game versus UC-Davis (2-6) in the first round of the World Vision Challenge.

    Neither Thursday or Friday night's game versus Nicholls State will be televised. Fans can catch the games on the Saluki Radio Network over the air or by listening at and selecting All-Access. Tip-off for both games will be at 6:30 p.m. CT. A video stream of Saturday's game versus Utah State will be available on All-Access.

    Salukis lead series vs. UC-Davis, 2-0
    The Salukis are 2-0 all-time versus UC-Davis, winning a neutral site game in 1959 and at home in 1972. The price of a gallon of gas the last time the teams met was 36 cents.

    SIU-UC Davis Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

    Barry Hinson versus Jim Les
    Barry Hinson compiled an 8-4 record against Jim Les from 2002-08 while the former coached at Missouri State and the latter coached Bradley.

    SIU leads MVC in scoring defense
    SIU's defense allows just 59.5 points per game, which is tops in the MVC and ranks 54th in the nation. Last year, Southern surrendered 69.2 points per game.

    Road Warriors
    Southern is in the middle of an eight-day stretch of five games, with only one of those games at home. The Salukis are 3-2 on the road this year after posting a 2-11 road mark last season. A breakdown of SIU's non-conference schedule this season shows four home games, six road games and two neutral site games. No other school in the Valley plays less than five non-conference home games this year. The Salukis will play only one home game in the month of December.

    Salukis 28th in field goal percentage
    Southern Illinois is shooting .479 from the field this year, which ranks 28th in the nation. Only nine teams are shooting 50 percent or better. North Carolina State leads the nation at .527. A pair of MVC schools are in the top 10 (Creighton-7th at .508, Illinois State-8th at .507).

    Transition baskets and points off TOs
    Two of the reasons why Southern is shooting so much better this year (.479) compared to last (.414) are its ability to score in transition and off of turnovers. The Salukis are out-scoring opponents on fastbreaks by a 82-23 margin. They have a 163-93 advantage in points off turnovers.

    No starter taller than 6-foot-5
    Despite having no starters taller than 6-foot-5, SIU has managed to out-rebound its first eight opponents by an average of +5.0. The top rebounder is 6-foot-1 Jeff Early, who averages 7.6 boards per game. Desmar Jackson, at 6-foot-5, is second on the team with 6.0 rebounds per contest.

    Quote from Utah State head coach Stew Morrill's press conference.

    On Southern Illinois head coach Barry Hinson and getting a Missouri Valley Conference team to come to tournament:

    "That, generally speaking, doesn't happen in this type of event. We were pleased when they decided to come. Barry Hinson got the job late and needed some games. The timeframe fit. They're off to a good start under a new coach. You watch them play and they play how his teams played when he was coaching in the Valley (Conference) before. They guard you really well, they're athletic, they run good stuff. It's a very good team to have in our tournament from a very good conference."