The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 20, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sam M. Vadalabene Center (4,000) -- Edwardsville, Indiana. Television: Fox Sports Midwest. Home Record: SIU 1-0, SIUE 1-0. Away Record: SIU 1-0, SIUE 0-1. Neutral Record: SIU 0-0, SIUE 0-0. Conference Record: SIU 0-0, SIUE 0-0. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: The Cougars of SIU-Edwardsville shoot for their first-ever win against the Southern Illinois Salukis when the teams convene at the Vadalabene Center on Tuesday night.
The Cougars, now members of the Ohio Valley Conference, have earned a split in their first two games of the 2012-13 campaign thanks to a 62-50 win over Western Illinois six days ago at home. On Nov. 10, the team opened the season with an 83-69 setback versus Missouri on the road.
As for the Salukis, they are off to a 2-0 start, although the competition hasn't exactly been top-of-the-line thus far. First, the team defeated New Orleans on the road, 72-55, and then this past Saturday SIU thumped Benedictine-Springfield, 100-62, in its home opener. The 100 points for the Salukis against their NAIA foe was the most since the team delivered 101 points in a meeting with Evansville back in 2002.
In terms of the all-time series, Southern Illinois has won all four previous matchups, the most recent coming in an 80-57 final last season in Carbondale as five players scored in double figures for the hosts.
In front of an announced crowd of more than 3,000, the Salukis dominated Benedictine-Springfield over the weekend as Jeff Early led the way with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. Anthony Beane, Jr. accounted for 16 points off the bench, T.J. Lindsay 15 and seven boards, followed by reserves Dantiel Daniels and Josh Swan with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Southern Illinois faced little opposition when spotting up for shots as the hosts nailed down 65.1 percent from the floor. Defensively, SIU forced the visitors into 21 turnovers. In two games, the Salukis have gained a total of 48 turnovers by the competition and while the team was able to keep mistakes to a minimum in the last games, the opener wasn't nearly as clean as SIU fumbled the ball away a staggering 28 times. Early is the key figure on offense for the Salukis with his 23.0 ppg, shooting an incredible 71.4 percent from the floor in the early going.
Against the Leathernecks last week, the Cougars shot 44.4 percent from the floor and an even better 7-of-14 behind the three-point line as SIUE captured the win at home. Jerome Jones lit up the scoreboard with his 26 points, connecting on all but two of his seven three-point tries and 10-of-15 from the field overall. Mark Yelovich checked in with another 13 points, filling out his stat line with five rebounds, three assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots. His efforts at the defensive end of the floor were just part of the attack by the Cougars as they forced 18 turnovers in the meeting. Playing close to 30 minutes per game, Jones leads the team in scoring with his 21.5 ppg as he connects on not only 55.2 percent from the floor but also 66.7 percent behind the three-point line. Reserve Michael Messer checks in with 10.0 ppg for a team producing only 65.5 ppg at the moment.
Even though the Cougars have expanded their presence at the Division I level, it will take a lot to keep them relative when compared to an opponent such as SIU.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Illinois 71, SIU-Edwardsville 63
11/20 10:50:43 ET