Aaron Cook earns his 44th double-digit scoring game, then there was one, and a peek at SIU's best analytical lineup from Tuesday's loss at Murray State. All in today's Saluki Basketball 5@5.
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No. 1 - Cook's 16 points gives him 44 in double figures: Senior guard Aaron Cook continued his strong start to his final season Tuesday night, scoring 16 points in 33 minutes for his 44th career game in double figures.
Cook made 5 of 11 from the field and 5 of 8 at the free-throw line. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound righty added three assists and two steals to tie Desmar Jackson for 10th place in school history.
"We did a good job on him," Murray State coach Matt McMahon said. "He made some points late. He hit a couple really tough shots, credit to him. He's a handful off the dribble, he has great speed and quickness."
Cook's 138 career steals are seven behind Anthony Beane (2013-16), who has 145 thefts, the ninth-most in school history. Cook has led or tied for the team lead in scoring in SIU's last four games. He tied center Barret Benson for the team lead against Oakland with 16 points. Cook has also been the Salukis' top rebounder twice this season, with seven against Illinois Wesleyan and four against Oakland.
No. 2 - Dembele first man off Saluki bench: And then there was one. Redshirt freshman forward Sekou Dembele was the first Saluki off the bench Tuesday night, and played seven minutes in his collegiate debut. Of SIU's 12 eligible players this season, redshirt freshman guard Karrington Davis is now the only one that hasn't played yet.
Dembele missed the first five games with a stress fracture in his leg and just started practicing last week. Davis is coming off an Achilles injury but looked good in warmups before the Murray State game. SIU (2-4) is off for a week before hosting North Carolina Central Nov. 26. Backup center Stevan Jeremic played 13 minutes Tuesday night and had three rebounds, one assist and one turnover.
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"I thought (Dembele) played hard," SIU coach Bryan Mullins said. "I thought him and Stevan both gave us good minutes. They both gave us great energy, and they brought some toughness and physicality to us."
SIU matched Murray State's 11 offensive rebounds in the 79-66 loss and limited the Racers to nine second-chance points. Ten of SIU's 12 players had at least one rebound.
No. 3 - SIU's best five from Murray State game: The new box scores, which started late last season, feature some additional analytical information.
They feature the plus/minus the NBA uses and also a shot chart. They also feature an analytical breakdown of which five-man lineup produced the best for each team. Can you guess which lineup was the Salukis' best Tuesday night? Not surprisingly, it was the starting five of graduate transfer Barret Benson, freshman forward Marcus Domask, graduate transfer guard Ronnie Suggs and seniors Cook and Eric McGill.
SIU's starting five was plus 12 in 10 minutes and 59 seconds on the court together. The Salukis used 19 different lineups Tuesday night, and the second-best five was Domask-Cook-Harwin Francois-Trent Brown-Jeremic. The worst lineup? Dembele, Domask, Suggs, McGill and Cook were minus-5 in 3:33 on the court. The lineup with Domask,Suggs, McGill, Francois and Jeremic was also minus-5. For what it's worth.
No. 4 - Banks named preseason all-state: SIU recruit Dalton Banks, a senior guard at Eau Claire North (Wisconsin) High School, was named one of five preseason all-state selections in WIAA Division 1 by the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook. The 6-2 guard is already Eau Claire North's all-time leading scorer.
No. 5 - Still undefeated: Northern Iowa (5-0) remained perfect on the season with an 87-67 win over UT Martin Tuesday night.
The Panthers host Cornell College (Iowa) tonight before heading to Cancun, Mexico, where they will play West Virginia Tuesday in the Cancun Challenge. Northern Iowa gets old MVC rival Wichita State or South Carolina in its second game Nov. 27.