CARBONDALE — His team has jumped out big in both of their first two games of the season, but SIU men’s basketball coach Barry Hinson was not happy with his starting five’s defense Saturday against Benedictine-Springfield.
The Salukis jumped out 11-4 to start the game at SIU Arena, but allowed three backdoor layups to the NAIA first-year program in the opening five minutes. Benedictine missed their third layup try and finished 24-of-57 from the field (42.1 percent) in the 100-62 loss.
“We’re there to guard and start the game, and our starters did not start the game (Saturday), so, I promise you we’ll find five starters by Tuesday that will want to start the game the way we want to play,” Hinson said.
SIU (2-0) jumped out to an 11-0 lead at New Orleans in its season opener with the same five it started against Benedictine (0-4), forward Antonio Bryer and guards Kendal Brown-Surles, Desmar Jackson, T.J. Lindsay and Jeff Early.
The Salukis led 32-15 midway through the first half Saturday but allowed the Bulldogs to get within 12 at the break with a 13-6 run.
Tanner Whiteman, who led Benedictine with 16 points off the bench, scored five points during that run.
Whiteman hit one of the Bulldogs’ three 3-pointers during the nearly-seven minute stretch. Justin Smith’s trey with 1:26 to go in the half got Benedictine within 12, 40-28.
SIU got two free throws from Lindsay to go into the locker room up 42-30.
Lindsay, a 6-foot-3 senior guard who made his 19th career start as a Saluki, made 5-of-7 from the field and all three of his free-throw attempts to finish with 15 points. He was one of five players in double-figures for the Salukis, who hit the century mark for the first time since beating Evansville, 101-62, on Jan. 30, 2002.
Guard Desmar Jackson, SIU’s second-leading scorer at New Orleans with 17 points, ended up with four points Saturday after playing only two minutes in the second half.
After the game, Hinson said he was not happy with Jackson’s defensive effort.
Lindsay and Early, two former teammates at Monroe (N.Y.) College before transferring to SIU in 2011, played 31 and 29 minutes Saturday, respectively.
Sophomore forward Dantiel Daniels could join them in the starting lineup Tuesday, when SIU takes on sister school SIU Edwardsville (1-1) at the Vadalabene Center (4,000). Daniels blocked two shots and had two of SIU’s 14 steals to go along with 14 points and two rebounds in his action of the season.
SIUE beat Western Illinois, 62-50, on Wednesday. The Cougars, postseason eligible for the first time in the Ohio Valley Conference, got a combined 39 points from forwards Jerome Jones and Mark Yelovich.
SIU is 4-0 lifetime against SIUE.
On Twitter: @Todd_Hefferman