CARBONDALE — An angry Kavion Pippen got SIU's men's basketball team through a rough offensive stretch Saturday night against Valparaiso.
Pippen scored 14 points, had a block and a steal in the Salukis' earlier loss on the road against the Crusaders. What ticked him off was how Valparaiso's two 7-footers, Derrik Smits and Jaume Sorolla, combined for 28 points and 10 points in an 83-72 loss at Valparaiso, Indiana.
"There was enough challenging with him that went on (Saturday), because he got his butt whupped up there," SIU coach Barry Hinson said after Pippen made 9 of 11 from the field and scored a game-high 21 points in the rematch. "He got his tail whupped pretty hard, and the other side of that is we got him the ball. Those passes are hard to make, and we did a good job of getting him the ball."
CARBONDALE — The SIU men's basketball Payback Tour made another stop at SIU Arena Saturday night against Valparaiso.
Pippen's three-point play with 2:07 to go tied the game at 59. The righty got around the 7-2 Smits and finished right before he fouled him on the arm. Pippen's free throw gave him his third 20-point game of the season.
"I just went up and caught it, went up hoping he was gonna foul me," Pippen said. "I just finished through contact."
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound junior center then blocked Markus Golder's attempted layup on the ensuing possession to get the ball back for the Salukis (16-9, 8-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Pippen missed for only the second time in 29 minutes on the next possession, but got the offensive rebound.
Aaron Cook, who went 2 of 7 from the field in an off-night for SIU's starting guards, missed an open 3-point attempt from the right wing that might have put the Salukis up three. Cook, Sean Lloyd (3 of 7 from the field) and Armon Fletcher (4 of 8), who averaged 39 points in SIU's previous four wins, combined for just 26 Saturday. Cook and Lloyd had seven each, and Fletcher scored 12.
CARBONDALE — There was nothing pretty about SIU’s 65-59 win over Valparaiso Saturday night.
Marcus Bartley made 3 of 8 from the field, including 1 of 3 from the 3-point line, and scored seven points. Bartley had two of SIU's seven assists and one of its 11 turnovers in 31 minutes before fouling out with 2:21 to play.
Fletcher's 3-pointer from the left corner, the biggest shot of the night, gave SIU its biggest lead of the game (62-59) since it was 6-3. The Salukis made just 3 of 15 behind the arc Saturday (20 percent) after shooting 46.3 percent (31 of 57) in their four previous wins.
Valparaiso (12-13, 3-9) made nearly half its shots (24 of 49, 49 percent) but missed its last five at SIU Arena in front of the biggest crowd of the season, 5,694 fans. The Crusaders led for 27 minutes and 38 seconds, but never put the Salukis down double digits and fell to 2-10 in true road games. In its first season in the Valley, Valparaiso is 0-6 in league road games after a near-miss Saturday night.
"I was proud of the effort that we put forth," Valparaiso coach Matt Lottich said. "It was a great crowd, a great environment, but for us to win a game on the road, especially against a quality opponent, we're gonna have to step up at end of games and hit free throws, and we can't have 17 turnovers. I thought a little bit of our youth showed up, but, again, we were right there and if we execute a little bit better down the stretch and make some free throws, I think the outcome would be a little different."
The Crusaders made 5 of 11 at the stripe, including 3 of 8 in the second half. Senior guard Tevonn Walker, a preseason all-conference guard, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 twice in the last eight minutes. Smits missed two with 3:52 to go that might have given Valparaiso the lead.
SIU wasn't that much better, sinking 14 of 24 at the free-throw line.
Pippen was 3 of 5, but made up for it with six rebounds and a season-high-tying four steals. He was named the MVC newcomer of the week for the third time this season on Monday.
"If he has it going, our team, we're so unselifsh that we just want to feed the hot man, and keep feeding him until he gets cold," Fletcher said. "He never did (Saturday), and he stayed poised. He played like a senior."