SIU Wins Exhibition Over Missouri Southern

November 3rd, 2008
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois may not be in mid-season form just yet, but the Salukis flashed plenty of potential in Monday's 82-59 exhibition win over NAIA opponent Missouri Southern.

SIU dominated early, surging to a 51-27 halftime lead. The play got a little sloppy in the second half when Southern committed 23 of its 34 turnovers.

For head coach Chris Lowery, he's willing to take the good with the bad at this point in the season, especially considering the roster has eight new faces.

"I think some of them were a little jittery, a little nervous," Lowery said. "The one thing about them is that they are no't afraid to make a play. They''re not afraid to use their dribble or try to make something happen when things don't go as scripted."

Carlton Fay led SIU with 17 points, all of them coming in the first half. Lowery was pleased with the sophomore forward's aggressiveness on offense.

"He's learned how to find his niche and find where he needs to be," Lowery said. "He was so programed to stay way from (Matt Shaw and Randal Falker) and now he found the ball quite a bit, and he was in the right spots and hitting open shots."

Fay scored eight of the team's first 11 points, including a pair of conventional three-point plays.

Freshman Kevin Dillard started at point guard for SIU and scored 12 points. He hit a couple of 3-pointers early, but just his ability to direct traffic will be critical for the Salukis this season, because it reduces the burden on all-conference senior guard Bryan Mullins.

"I think we complement each other," Dillard said. "I want to take a little pressure off of him. He could come off screens a little more -- look for the shot a little more. As the season goes on, we will build more chemistry, and I think we will flow a little bit better."

Lowery said Mullins has helped Dillard improve in practice.

"(Kevin's) gotten his butt whipped pretty good by Bryan in practice, but he kept coming back," Lowery said. "Bryan likes playing with him. Now, we don't have to have Bryan handle every single possession. We don't have to have Bryan guard the best guy every single possession."

Mullins led the team with six assists, including a pair of nifty passes that led to first half dunks for Anthony Booker andChristian Cornelius. The frontcourt duo of Booker and Cornelius were impressive off the bench, finishing with nine and eight points, respectively.

In fact, Southern had a balanced attack off the bench, with guards Justin Bocot (11 points) and Torres Roundree (7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and center Nick Evans (7 points, 11 rebounds) all having solid performances.

Lowery said he was disappointed with the high number of turnovers and thought his team relaxed a bit in the second half.

"I thought we became kind of casual in the second half, and really didn't play like the score was tied," he said. "I tried to get across to play like its tied or we're behind. Don't play the score, and I thought our kids from the 10-minute mark in the second half played the score and didn't really attack them."

Still, the Salukis were never challenged, as the Bears came only as close as 15 points in the second half. SIU out-rebounded Missouri Southern, 57-23.