CARBONDALE - As if the Southern Illinois University's men's basketball team's longest losing streak of the season wasn't rough enough, the Salukis will have to try to end it without three of its players, two of them starters.

Prior to Friday's practice, SIU's first since losing to seventh-place Drake 65-44 at home Wednesday, the school announced two starters and backup guard Troy Long would miss not only the workout, but the next three games after a Thursday night incident near Steagall Hall.

Sophomore center Gene Teague, junior point guard Mykel Cleveland and junior guard Long were all cited with battery after being stopped at 8:59 p.m., according to a campus police report. An unidentified 20-year-old male victim, who is an SIU student, did not require medical attention after the incident, according to the report.

All three players received notices to appear on ordinance violations and are to be at Jackson County Courthouse in Murphysboro on March 9, three days after the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in St. Louis is scheduled to end.

Teague and Cleveland did not respond to messages left for comment Friday night. A number or email could not be located for Long.

SIU (10-13, 4-8 Missouri Valley Conference) has dropped four straight, and hosts last-place Bradley (7-16, 1-11 MVC) today at 2:05 p.m.

"It's a poor time, but it's the right thing to do," SIU coach Chris Lowery said Friday. "As a parent, you never want your kids to do anything that affects their future, but it happens. We had some guys make a very immature mistake. Obviously, they are suspended three games for it."

Lowery declined to provide any further details about the alleged incident because the matter is headed to the student judiciary board, he said. Asked if anyone else besides the three that were suspended were involved in the incident, Lowery said "If they were, they would be suspended, also."

SIU athletic director Mario Moccia released a statement.

"I am extremely disappointed in the actions of our three student-athletes," he said. "The incident will be reviewed by the university judicial process, and we will not discuss specifics until that process is complete."

Teague, a 6-foot-9, 290-pound cornerstone of the team's offense, is SIU's third-leading scorer (9.1 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (5.6 per game). Cleveland, a junior transfer from Southwestern Illinois College, leads the Salukis with 53 assists and had started the previous six games.

Long, a 6-foot combo guard, hadn't played in four of SIU's previous five games.


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