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Saluki Men’s Basketball notebook

February 8, 2012

By Tom Weber
Saluki Media Services

1. After tonight’s loss to Missouri State, Southern has its back against the wall in its quest for a top-six seed in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. With four games remaining, it needs to leapfrog two teams out of the pool of Drake, Evansville and Northern Iowa.

2. That means SIU will probably have to win three games, and possibly all four of its remaining conference games. Both Evansville and Northern Iowa have beaten Creighton, which counts in their favor in a potential tie-breaker.

3. If SIU doesn’t make the top six, it will look back on the overtime loss at home to Drake, and tonight’s two-point defeat at the hands of the Bears, as the turning points in its season. You just can’t afford to lose multiple home games.

4. Jeff Early’s three fouls in a 39-second span of the first half tonight was a crushing blow. After a slow start, you could feel the tide turning in Southern’s favor just before he exited. The play in which he was whistled for two fouls (one was a technical) could have been called either way. It was a collision in the open floor.

5. Both head coaches pulled out all the stops, each using a zone defense to throw the other off stride. Missouri State held SIU scoreless for more than six minutes in the first half with its zone. The Salukis got a couple key turnovers from their zone, although it also surrendered a pair of 3-pointers.

6. If you had told me in November that after 25 games, the Salukis would be going on their 13th different starting lineup, and that the lineup would feature four junior college players, including a walk-on, I would not have believed it. That in no way is a knock against the JUCO kids. In fact, how can you NOT like what they have done?

7. Mamadou Seck is the best JUCO player the program has recruited in the last 10 years. He’s the best scorer, rebounder and passer on the team, and it would be nowhere without him.

8. Jeff Early plays guard, but he’s really a forward disguised in a guard’s body. Regardless, he’s the heart and soul of this team with an energy level that never stops. He reminds me of a recent Saluki JUCO player named LaMar Owen, who was a fan favorite for his hustle play six years ago.

9. T.J. Lindsay is the Newt Gingrich of Saluki Basketball. Every time you count him out, he makes a comeback. After getting benched for two games, he made three clutch 3-pointers in the second half tonight. He’s a 38 percent 3-point shooter, while his teammates combine to make only 25 percent.

10. Kourtney Goff is not only a JUCO, but a walk-on to boot. No, you don’t want him shooting the J, but he does everything else well, including play defense and distribute the ball.

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From → Men's Basketball

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