Wichita, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Currently mired in one of the longest losing streaks of the Barry Hinson era, the Southern Illinois Salukis will try to right the ship when they tangle with the 13th-ranked Wichita State Shockers in a Missouri Valley Conference tussle on Wednesday night.
Southern Illinois has lost its last six games to fall to 7-10 overall and 0-4 in conference. The Salukis, who lost at home to Indiana State (59-56) last Saturday, are 2-5 in true road games this season, and they will be seeking their first win over a ranked opponent since Feb. 17, 2011 when they topped Butler in Indianapolis.
Wichita State went 10-2 during the non-conference portion of its schedule, and has bounced back from a 60-54 loss to George Washington in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii on Christmas Day to win each of its first four MVC bouts. The Shockers, who are a perfect 8-0 at home this season, claimed a 67-53 decision at Loyola-Chicago this past Sunday.
SIU won 19-of-22 games between the schools from 1999-2009. Since that time however, the Shockers have won eight of the last 10 meetings. The last time SIU won at Charles Koch Arena was on Feb. 8, 2011.
Southern Illinois has really struggled during its current six-game losing streak, and while it pretty much matched Indiana State's effort in the recent outing, coach Hinson's club still came out on the losing side. Bola Olaniyan scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead SIU, while Anthony Beane tallied 11 points, Jordan Carolina 10, and Sean O'Brien helped the Salukis to a 40-27 rebounding advantage by pulling down 10 boards. Southern Illinois shot 40.7 percent from the field, but only 25 percent from 3-point range, while the Sycamores nailed eight treys as part of their 43.5 percent overall shooting performance.
Beane (16.5 ppg) is the lone double-digit scorer for the Salukis this season, but he has hit just 21-of-80 (.263) from the field and 3-of-30 (.100) from 3- point range during the team's current slide. As a team, SIU has fumbled the ball away 83 times while logging only 45 assists, and it is shooting just 38 percent from the floor, and only 22 percent from beyond the arc over the last six games. For the season, the team is scoring 60.5 ppg while permitting only 60.2 ppg. Despite its troubles, Southern Illinois is in the black with regard to both rebounding (+2.4) and turnover (+0.5) margin.
The Shockers used a sizzling 71.4 percent shooting effort in the second half to blow open what had been a close game at Loyola-Chicago over the weekend. Wichita State wound up hitting 54.3 percent of its field goal attempts on the day, while the Ramblers found the bottom of the net on only 37 percent of their's, despite the fact that they drained 10-of-18 3-point tries. Tekele Cotton was high man for the Shockers with 16 points, while Ron Baker tacked on 15 and Fred VanVleet logged a double-double consisting of 14 points and 10 assists.
Baker is netting 16.5 ppg to pace four Wichita State players in double figures, the team putting up 72.4 ppg in knocking down 45.1 percent of its total shots, which includes a 37.4 percent showing from beyond the arc. Foes are nearly as successful from distance (.372), but they commit roughly 14 turnovers per outing, while coming up nearly six rebounds shy of the Shockers on average. All of that of course means opponents are scoring just 58.7 ppg against what is a formidable Wichita State squad all the way around.