CARBONDALE — SIU men's basketball coach Barry Hinson spoke about his team's length on defense at media day last month. Guard Sean Lloyd wants to use his 6-foot-5 frame on offense, too.
Lloyd posted up a few Rockhurst (Missouri) University defenders in Saturday night's 98-68 exhibition win, and converted 7 of 12 from the field in 27 minutes. Lloyd's 19 points came easy, behind two 3-pointers on as many tries, three free throws and five field goals inside the arc.
"That's something we're working at. I played there a lot this summer, so, I'm going to try to play in the post a lot this winter," said the 210-pound junior guard. "I think it's good. I've been trying some post moves, trying to learn some post moves."
Hinson shot down his efforts to try his turnaround jumper down in the post, Lloyd said, so is he working on developing a jump-hook. Without 6-5 Marcus Bartley, who is out with a broken bone in his wrist until the middle of next month, Lloyd is suddenly SIU's biggest guard with Armon Fletcher, redshirt freshman guard/forward Brendon Gooch and senior guard/forward Jonathan Wiley, who is 6-7.
Depending on the matchup, Lloyd could play as much power forward/hybrid forward as Wiley or Fletcher in SIU's four-guard lineup. Lloyd and Wiley grabbed five rebounds against the smaller Hawks.
Lloyd was one of the Salukis' best players at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in March. He delivered 26 points, six rebounds and seven steals in SIU's win over Loyola and loss to Illinois State. Lloyd started 20 of 32 games last season and is one of three returning starters from the squad that went 17-16 overall and 9-9 in the MVC.
Kavion Pippen, a 6-10 center, scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds in his unofficial Saluki debut. Pippen, a junior transfer from Three Rivers (Missouri) Community College, made 11 of 13 from the field, his only free-throw attempt, and blocked three shots in 23 minutes.
Fletcher scored 15 points, backup center Rudy Stradnieks had 11, and junior college transfer Eric McGill added 10 points, six assists and five steals. Hinson said without starting forward Thik Bol and Bartley, who is expected to start at the point, SIU's leading scorer could be a different player every night.
"If we'll just show up and concentrate on defense, and we won't worry about who our leading scorer is, because I'm gonna tell ya right now," Hinson said. "If we give out a leading scorer award, it's gonna change every game. I think we have guys that are capable of going and getting 20, and one night they get five, and I promise ya, I don't think they'll be upset. I think they'll be OK."
Bol had successful knee surgery, Hinson said Saturday, and could return by the end of next month if things go well. Hinson declined to say what Bol had repaired, but said the average recovery time with his injury was about 43 days, which would put him back in late December.
Hinson said the team would know more at the end of November. Bol is SIU's top-returning rebounder from last season and was fourth on the team in scoring (9.1 points per game). The Salukis will miss him more at the defensive end, where he rejected 76 shots last season, the third-most in school history for one season.
SIU opens the season at Winthrop Friday night at 6. The defending Big South Conference champions return two starters off last season's 26-7 squad, including preseason all-conference first team pick Xavier Cooks. The 6-8 Cooks, a senior guard/forward from Australia, averaged 16.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for the Eagles.