Marcus Domask catches Saint Louis coach Travis Ford's eyes, you can finally plan your Saturday, and the Salukis' bench gets shorter. All in today's Saluki Basketball 5@5.
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No. 1 - Billikens tried everyone: SIU guard/forward Marcus Domask hit the Salukis' only 3-pointer against Saint Louis Sunday and made 7 of 12 from the field in just over 36 minutes against some older posts. Billikens coach Travis Ford said he literally looked at everyone in the huddle during the game and said "Anyone else want to try to stop him?"
"Everybody had a chance to stop him, and nobody did it particularly well," Ford said after Saint Louis beat SIU 69-60. "They spread the floor out, and we didn't do a good with that. That's probably my fault, we got too spread out guarding the 3, there was no weakside help, but he's a really nice, nice (player). I saw that on film and it shocked me. He's a guy that can shoot 3s, he can take you off the dribble, deceptively off the dribble, and has what I call old school moves in the post. He's not gonna beat you with athleticism. He's gonna beat you with skill, kind of smart play. Really, really nice player, and like I said, we tried everything."
Domask's game-high 21 points were his second-highest total this season. The 6-foot-6 freshman, who was named the MVC's newcomer of the week Monday, scored 24 points in SIU's win over UTSA at the Sunshine Slam in Florida. He currently leads SIU in minutes (34.3 per game), 3-pointers (13), free throws made (25), free throw percentage (83.3%) and is second in scoring (14 points per game). Domask is third in rebounding (4.1 per game) and also leads the team with 25 assists in eight games.
No. 2 - Tipoff time in Hattiesburg set for 2 p.m.: You can finally plan your Saturday afternoon, as Southern Mississippi announced it will tip-off against the Salukis at 2 p.m. The game had been TBA for weeks, likely because the Golden Eagles' football team was in contention to play in the Conference USA championship game, which would have been at the higher-seeded team's venue. Southern Miss lost last weekend so they did not qualify for it.
The game is scheduled to air on CUSA.tv.
No. 3 - French limits Saluki bench: Billikens forward Hasahn French scored 13 of his 15 points Sunday in the second half. The big 6-7, 245-pound junior overpowered Saluki center Barret Benson and others during that stretch, which limited SIU's options off the bench. SIU coach Bryan Mullins elected not to use Sekou Dembele or Stevan Jeremic against him. Four of French's nine rebounds came at the offensive end.
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Benson battled foul trouble in the second half, which forced Mullins to use Brendon Gooch for almost 10 minutes off the bench. Saint Louis (7-1), which entered the game with an average rebound margin of +7.3, outboarded the Salukis 39-27, 12-4 off the offensive glass. But, the Billikens only scored 10 second-chance points.
SIU's bench got outscored 27-3. Trent Brown's three points in the final minute were the Saluki reserves' only points.
No. 4 - MVC power plays: Two big wins last week (Bradley over Kansas State and Northern Iowa over South Carolina) gave the MVC three victories against Power Five conference this season. The Power Five includes the five major FBS leagues.
Bradley has a shot to become the second Valley team this season to beat a top-25 squad when it takes on No. 15 Memphis Tuesday. Bradley is 51-114 all-time against nationally-ranked teams in The Associated Press poll. The Braves' last top-25 win came in 2010 against conference rival Northern Iowa.
After a slow start, the league has picked up 17 wins against teams picked in the top half of their leagues' preseason polls, including five preseason favorites. Evansville beat SEC favorite Kentucky, which was ranked No. 1 in the country at the time, Illinois State beat Ohio Valley Conferenve favorite Belmont, Valparaiso beat Mid-American Conference favorite Toledo, Bradley beat Big South favorite Radford, and your Salukis topped North Carolina Central. NCCU was picked to win the MEAC.
No. 5 - Coming up: SIU hosts Norfolk State (3-6) Wednesday night and plays at Southern Mississippi (2-6) Saturday. It will be the Salukis' first-ever meetings against both teams. The Spartans, who compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) with North Carolina Central, are 0-4 away from home and have dropped their last five games. The Golden Eagles' only wins so far this season came against Delta State and non-Division I William Carey.
The Salukis are off next week during Finals Week before taking on Missouri (4-3) Sunday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m.