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Marcus Bartley is out with a bad back, and Tyler Smithpeters is in for SIU's men's basketball team against Duquesne tonight at 7:30.

Bartley, the Salukis' starting point guard, hurt his back in practice Thursday and gutted out 13 minutes Friday night in a loss to Nevada. Voice of the Salukis Mike Reis said on the pregame radio show Bartley will not play tonight, when the Salukis (7-5) try to close their non-conference schedule with a win against the Dukes (9-3) in the next-to-last game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.

Nevada and San Francisco tip-off at approximately 10 p.m. for the tournament championship.

Duquesne has won seven in a row since falling in three straight games between Nov. 19-Dec. 1. Forward/center Chas Brown, a 6-foot-8 graduate transfer from Coppin State that is a true 5 man, made his debut Dec. 1. The Dukes fell at Pittsburgh, 76-64, and haven't lost yet.

Four players average double figures, led by guard Mike Lewis II (17 points per game). Eric Williams Jr., a 6-5 freshman, averages 14.3 points and 10.2 rebounds a game, point guard Rene Castro-Caneddy averages 13 and backup guard Tarin Smith averages 11.8 a game. 

Brown, who will battle SIU's Kavion Pippen tonight has started all eight games he's played. He is only shooting 35.9 percent for the season, and 41.7 percent at the free-throw line. Brown averages 4.3 points and 5.3 rebounds a game.

Duquesne has an eight-man rotation pretty much, with three guys averaging over 30 minutes a game (Lewis, Williams and Castro-Caneddy). SIU hopes Pippen can get close to that tonight, as Brown is not a 3-point shooter.

Smithpeters snapped out of his season-long slump a bit in SIU's win over UNC A&T with 2 of 3 3s and 3 of 5 field goals, but was 2 of 6 from the field Friday night against Nevada. Smithpeters still scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds, and handed out two assists in 24 minutes. 

Down Thik Bol, Eric McGill, and now Bartley, SIU will have likely have to turn to senior Jonathan Wiley and juniors Rudy Stradnieks and Austin Weiher at the forward spot and Brendon Gooch at the guard spot. The Salukis open conference play Thursday night at Northern Iowa.

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On Twitter: @THefferman


Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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