Webb tosses in 31 as Goreville defeats the WF Redbirds handily

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT – It was a tale of two nights for the West Frankfort Redbirds.  Last night they gave their arch rivals and SIRR Ohio foes the Benton Rangers all they wanted in a 49-45 loss.

Coach Todd Tripp’s team fell to Benton two weeks from tonight 72-46 in the Goreville Invitational Tournament.  The Backcourt of Peyton Massey and Braden Webb were banged up during that contest.

Webb rolled an ankle in the tournament  Massey had a broken collar bone suffered in football.  He was a threat in the backfield for the Vienna-Goreville Eagles.

Tonight, the West Frankfort Redbirds did not have any answer for Webb as he tossed in a game high 31 points as the Blackcats defeated the Redbirds 78-61.

The Redbirds played their guts out on Friday night.  This is not a slam, but they looked like a team that was out of gas last night.  I told coach Toney Friday night, they had a Floorborn – U look from the SIU days.  They were diving after every loose ball.

On the other side, Todd Tripp’s Goreville Blackcats looked like the team that could possibly end up in Peoria in Class 1A.  The Trio of Webb, Massey and Tanner Dunn have started since their freshman year.  They had an eleven day gap in their schedule.  They had a nice win over Z-R on December 5th.

In the opening seconds of the ball game the score was Webb 7 WF 0.  C.J Johnson Began to match Webb with putting on a scoring clinic of his own.  He finished with 25 on the night.  Goreville Raced out to a 21-13 lead.

Webb Continued on his tear and at the Blackcats led 43-29 at halftime.  Webb had 27 at this point.  The Redbirds were in deep foul trouble.  Coach KevinToney had to go with CJ Johnson and Kyle Hammers with three fouls in the first half.

West Frankfort starts the second half in a trapping zone.  It shut Webb down but the Redbirds did not have an answer for Peyton Massey.  He bombed three trifectas in a two minute stretch to put Goreville up by 25.  CJ Johnson hit a buzzer beating 18 footer to cut the lead at the end of three 70-49.

The Redbirds came out on fire in the fourth quarter and cut the Goreville lead till 14.  Coach Tripp calls a timeout and the Blackcats began to eat some clock with four minutes and some change on the clock.  Goreville scored on a couple of back door cuts to expand the lead.

Both coaches called off the dogs then and both teams began to sub freely.

Goreville improves to 5-2 on the season.  They will host the Cobden Appleknockers on Tuesday, in a final tuneup before the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.

West Frankfort falls to 0-7.  This closes out their schedule until after Christmas.  Seeds for the Eldorado Holiday Tournament will come out on Wednesday.

Box Score

GOREVILLE (78)  Webb 11 1-6 31, Massey 5 2-2 16, Dunn 4 4-6 12, Tosh 1 5-8 7, Glidewell 1 1-2 4. Allbright 0 4-4 4. Geyman 1 0-0 2, Bishop 1 0 0-0 2.  Three point field Goals:  Webb 5, Massey 4, Glidewell

WEST FRANKFORT (61)  Johnson 10 2-5 25, Trash 4 0-1 10, Croslin 3 2-2 8, Wolfe 3 2-2 8, Hammers 3 2-2 8, B. Russell 1 0-0 2  Three point field goals:  Johnson 3, Thrash 2

Score By Quarters

GOREVILLE (5-2)    21 – 22 – 27 – 8 –   78

WEST FRANKFORT (0-7)    13 – 16 – 15 – 14 –   61









Webber Township wins Conrad Allen Holiday Tournament Title


WAYNE CITY  –  Webber Township takes the 64th Conrad Allen Holiday Tournament Championship with a 46-43 win over the Wayne City Indians.

In the third place game, Gallatin County was impressive in a 65-47 win over Bridgeport-Red Hill.

The Crab Orchard Trojans won fifth place, with a 68-50 win over Louisville-North Clay.

Please click on the link below to read the game coverage from Jack Bullock of A Baseline View.



Sesser-Valier knocks off Christopher 74-61 in BDC West action

By Jim Muir

The Sesser-Valier Red Devils pulled off a huge win Friday night, defeating Route 148 rival Christopher 74-61.

Both teams fought to a 13-13 first quarter score and the Red Devils eked out a 31-30 halftime lead but it was a dominating third quarter run by S-V that propelled them to a Black Diamond Conference West victory. S-V outscored the Bearcats 26-14 in the decisive third stanza. Both teams played to a 17-17 standoff in the final quarter.

“Our effort was very good again tonight,” said S-V Coach Shane Garner. “We struggled a little in our offense early, but it was our defense in the second half that led to some turnovers and some easy baskets.”

S-V put three players in double figures in the contest with Lukas Gunter leading the way for S-V with 19 points. He was followed by Addison Page with 16 points and Tyler Winchester with 15 points. Rounding out the scoring for S-V was Peyton Rock with nine points, Preston Launius with eight points andJosh Gunter and Seth Boles with four points each. The Bearcats were led in scoring by sophomore Gabriel Motsinger with 16 points, one of four Christopher players who scored in double figures. Bryce Pratt added 13 points, followed by Dalton Saeger with 11 points and Daniel Flowers with 10 points. Bradley Young added nine points for Christopher and Kye Garver added two points.

The Red Devils are back in action on Tuesday, December 19 when they travel to Vienna for another BDC matchup. The Bearcats are also back in action on December 19 when they host Trico. Both games will wrap up the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule for each team. S-V and the Bearcats will participate in the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament that will run from December 26-29.


Rangers – Redbrids face off tonight

By Steve Dunford 

The girls between the two rivals took the floor last night and it was a dandy.  It was an overtime win by West Frankfort with a buzzer beater being waved off at the end of regulation.  This contest has the potential to be another barn burner.

The Benton Rangers (6-1)(0-1) and the West Frankfort Redbirds (0-5)(0-1) will face off tonight at Max Morris Gym in West Frankfort.

If you would ask people from West Frankfort what is the nicest gym in Southern Illinois they would say Max Morris. If you would ask people from Benton, they would say Rich Herrin. I love the 1950’s era bowl gyms., which I feel Duff-Kingston is the grand daddy of them all. This photo is from the Peoria Journal star a few years ago, in which they featured the top gyms south of them. All three made the list.

The Rangers picked up a nice road win at Carmi on Tuesday night, a place the Rangers have historically struggled.   It has been a week since the Redbirds have taken the floor.  They were blown out by the Harrisburg Bulldogs in their SIRR Ohio opener, a team that can make a deep run in the post season in class 2A.

West Frankfort Coach Kevin Toney had to say this about the Rangers, “This group of kids is seeking name contribution in a historic program.  Last year they was able to watch a very fine team being celebrated by the community.   They want to chart their own reputation.  They are intense, hard working and most of all good kids.  They are very well coached as well.”

Benton Coach Ron Winemiller shared some thoughts about West Frankfort tonight. He said, “The Redbirds are very big and physical. Their size and strength will cause use lots of issues. (Kyle) Hammers has developed into a very good point guard that does a very good job of running their team. (CJ) Johnson is a very good scorer that does a good job of scoring and is a very tough match up for us. (Lucas) Wolfe and (Bradlee) Croslin can score if we aren’t with them. (Keagan) Thrash is a good in out kid as well.”

The five that I look for Coach Winemiller has went with all season can step out and hit the three.  Gehrig Wynn, Parker Williams, Cade Thomas, and Hamilton Page played a lot of minutes, and all four started at one time or the other through out the year on the Sweet 16 team in Class 3A last year.

Sophomore Carson Lewis stepped in that fifth starting slot for the Rangers and played well.   All five can stroke the three.  If the Rangers are hot behind the arc, it can be a long night for the Redbirds.

C.J. Johnson’s grandpa will be calling his name a lot tonight.  If Jim is making his signature “foul is called” on Thrash and Croslin, this would be an advantage to the Rangers.

There are two that can get hot from behind the arc for West Frankfort in Lucas Wolfe and Kyle Hammers.

Both coaches have played a lot of kids early.  I would not be a bit surprised if you would see 6′ 6″ Junior Braxton Lutz log a lot of minutes for the Rangers tonight, to counteract the Redbird tall trees in the post.

I know the contests at Rich Herrin Gym were a little ugly in favor of the Rangers the last couple of years, but the ones at Max Morris were pretty tight.

I might be wrong but West Frankfort played them to 10 points last year at home, and they about sprang a major upset on the Rangers on the “Saturday night after Thanksgiving game,” two years ago.

Personally I am glad they did away with that game.  That is like North Carolina and Duke playing in their season opener.

It is Benton and West Frankfort, enough said.  Sesser-Valier and Christopher are playing tonight as well.  Thompsonville and Z-R are off tonight.  This would be two opportunities to come out and see some great HS basketball tonight.

Keep in mind that Friday is one of the busiest nights for Candy Cane Lane.  The carriage rides start as well this weekend.  This will make parking less available, and those from Benton might consider taking Poplar or St. Louis street.





The battle of 148 takes place at Chirstopher tonight

By Steve Dunford 

In week five of the high school football season, Benton vs. West Frankfort and C-Z-R vs. S-V-W-W square off on the gridiron.

This weekend it happens on the hardwood.  As in football there is the “Battle of 148 travelling trophy” which goes between the two communities. The trophy is a road sign.

It does not matter the activity or sport, when the two teams get together, record books are thrown out the window.

On Tuesday night the Devils increased their record to 3-4 on the season by picking you a 76-58 win over the Johnston City Indians.  Christopher defeated Waltonville 55-45 Tuesday night to improve to 5-1.

Sesser Valier Coach Shane Garner had this to say about tonight’s matchup.  “Obviously this is one of the games we look forward to every year. There have been some great battles over the last couple of years and I expect nothing less than that tomorrow night. (Jared) Curry and (Bradley) Young are probably one of the better combos there are in Southern Illinois. They compliment each other nicely and Coach Stallman does a great job of getting them in position to be successful.

“We have been competing better in the last couple of games and I’m liking the progress we are making. Our defensive effort has increase and our offensive production has been more balanced. We are in a good place mentally right now and our boys are ready to tomorrow night.”

Here are some comments from Christopher coach Eric Stallman about tonight’s game. “Sesser-Valier is a very good team and play a lot of kids.  It is going to be a challenging game for sure and Curry getting injured in the Waltonville, game will make it even more challenging. Sesser-Valier has had a bit of a rocky start but after their win against Chester they look to be playing like everyone in the conference expected.”

Sesser-Valier can go 10 or 11 deep without missing a beat.   Young and Curry are the best one two punch in Southern Illinois, especially in class 1A.

Christopher has played a decent schedule but nothing in comparison the Devils.  Lukas Gunter is getting healthier as the season goes. He is the best 1A point guard in the south in my view, and when his minutes were limited it hurt S-V.

I have said all year for the Bearcats to be successful, Curry and Young has to stay out of foul trouble, especially if the game turns into a track meet.

If Curry is out, you might see the Bearcats turn into more of a half court team tonight.   For the Bearcats to compete, Young will have to play 32 minutes tonight.  If not, the Devils are just too deep.





WF Lady Redbirds beat the Benton Rangerettes in OT

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT –  Throughout the game the Rangerettes on the verge of putting the Lady Redbirds away.  Each time, West Frankfort had an answer.

West Frankfort executed in the extra frame playing turnover free basketball and made their free throws, in winning the battle of Franklin County in a 45-38 win.

Redbird Center Chloe Peavey with a stick back in last night’s game

The first quarter both teams were very deliberate, at times taking close to a minute each possession.  They also forgot to remove the lids on the bucket as it was 5-1 Benton after the first quarter.

A nice post move by Zoe Carlton made it 10-3 Benton. A quick West Frankfort turnover gave the ball back to the Rangerettes.  They melted some time off the clock and coughed the ball up.  This resulted in Cali Wright hitting a pull up jumper to make the score 10-5.

This was the first field goal by the Lady Redbirds.  It came with a little over the five minute mark of the second quarter.

The Lady Redbirds kept chipping away.  In the closing seconds of the first half, Maddi Carpenter hits Megan Beery off of a Benton turnover for a layup to give WF their first lead of the game 14-13.

Benton Coach Andy Sloan employed a full court man-to-man that the Lady Redbirds began to struggle with.  The Rangerettes had a seven point lead twice in the frame.  West Frankfort came within two, before Eb Casey hits a three pointer in under a minute to go in the third.  It was 26-21 Benton after three.

To open the fourth Cali Wright goes on a six point tear to give WF a 27-26 lead.   Benton gets back to back threes from Ember Milby and Addisyn Miller, and tops off an 8-0 run for Benton to take a 35-27 lead.  West Frankfort finishes regulation on a 10-2 run going 8/10 from the free throw line.

At the end of regulation Megan Beery pulls up and hits a 22 foot jumper that would have sent us home earlier, but it was waved off to send the game into overtime.

Lady Redbird coach Matt Hampleman had this to say about last night’s win.  “We executed offensively in the fourth quarter and in OT.  We continue to improve.  It is small building blocks.  We are both young.  Andy (Sloan) will tell you the same thing (which he did).

I noticed the Lady Redbirds kept changing defenses up.  For instance, in four possessions, they were in a box in one, man to man. 2-3 zone and 3-2.  Coach Hampleman said it is something they have been working on in practice the last couple of weeks.

“Our guards were in foul trouble, and they capitalized on it.  We allowed them to stay in the game too long.  Defensively we played very well tin the first half.  We worked mainly on the offensive end of the floor in practice yesterday, and still have a little more work to do,”  Benton coach Andy Sloan had to say after last night’s loss.

West Frankfort (3-8)(1-2) on the season face off against the Gallatin County Lady Hawks Monday at 5:00 p.m.

The Rangerettes (2-7)(1-2)  are off until Wednesday when hit the road to play undefeated Sesser-Valier-Waltonville Lady Devils in another Franklin County matchup.

Box Score

WEST FRANKFORT (45)  Wright 5 1 6-8 19; Beery 2 0 8-11 10; Peavey 3 0 0-0 6; Carpenter 1 0 3-4 5; McLaren 1 0 1-2 3; Turner 0 0 0-0 0

BENTON (38)  Casey 0 3 0-0 9; Johnson 3 0 0-0 6; Carlton 2 0 1-2 5; Wallace 2 0 0-0 4; Miller  0 1 1-2 4; Wilcox 2 0 0-0 4

Score by Quarters

WEST FRANKFORT (3-8)(1-2)  1 – 13 – 7 – 16 – 8  –  45

BENTON (2-7)(1-2)  1 -13 – 7 – 16 – 8 – 38




Statements by the Cardinals on recent trade activity

Cardinals complete deal with Marlins for All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have completed a five-player trade with the Miami Marlins, acquiring All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna in exchange for RHP Sandy Alcantara, OF Magneuris Sierra, RHP Zac Gallen and LHP Daniel Castano.

Ozuna, 27, who set career single-season highs for batting average (.312), home runs (37) and RBI (124) last season, earned National League Silver Slugger and Rawlings Gold Glove award selection and was named to his 2nd-straight National League All-Star team.

Joining Matt Kemp (2011) and Matt Holliday (2007) as just the third N.L. outfielder since 2003 to compile a .310-plus batting average, 30-plus home runs and 120-plus RBI in the same season, Ozuna finished the 2017 campaign ranked 3rd in the N.L. in both homers and RBI and he stood 7th among the league’s batting leaders.

The 6-1, 225-pound native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, finished 15th in N.L. MVP voting last season and led all senior league clean-up hitters (min. 400 at-bats) with his .548 slugging pct. and .924 on-base + slugging mark. Ozuna has a career batting mark of .297 (183-for-617) with 20 HR and 256 RBI with runners in scoring position.

The right-handed hitting Ozuna owns a career batting mark of .277 with 96 HRs and 361 RBI in 653 games, all with the Marlins, who signed him as an international free-agent in February of 2008. Ozuna, who has hit 23 or more homers in three of his four full seasons in the majors, finished 4th in total bases in the N.L. this season and was ranked 5th in at-bats/RBI (4.94) and 10th in at-bats/HR (16.57).

Ozuna led all N.L. left fielders in putouts (305) and fielding pct. (.984) and ranked 2nd in outfield assists (10), earning his first Rawlings Gold Glove award for defensive excellence in his first season as the Marlins regular left fielder. Ozuna, who has played 410 career games in center field, 174 in left and 65 in right, owns 41 career outfield assists since 2013, ranking T5th in the N.L., 1,469 total chances (3rd) and a .988 fielding pct., the 3rd best in that time span among N.L. fly chasers with over 5,500 career innings played.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its club

Cards sign free-agent pitcher Luke Gregerson

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed free-agent right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson to a two-year (2018-19) contract that includes a team option for the 2020 season that could vest based on incentives.

The nine-year veteran, who has pitched in the Major Leagues with San Diego (2009-13), Oakland (2014) and Houston (2015-17), has limited opposing right-handers to a .200 average that ranks as fifth-lowest among qualified Major League relievers since his 2009 debut. The 6-3, 210-pound Gregerson is also one of only five Major League pitchers to make 60 or more appearances in at least eight seasons, while his 623 total appearances are the most for any Major League reliever, ranking ahead of Tyler Clippard (617) and Brad Ziegler (610) in that time frame.

Last season, the 33-year-old went 2-3 with a 4.57 ERA (61.0 IP) and 70 strikeouts in a team-leading 65 games for Houston. His 70 strikeouts were his highest total since fanning 72 (71.2 IP) for San Diego in 2012.

In 10 career postseason appearances with Oakland and Houston which culminated with the 2017 World Series championship, Gregerson recorded a 1.08 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 8.1 combined innings.

Gregerson ranked 10th in the American League after converting 31 saves in his first season with Houston in 2015. The following season, Gregerson’s .183 average against (38-208) was the fifth-lowest mark among AL relievers (minimum 100 batters faced), while his career-best .156 mark (17-109) against right-handers ranked sixth.

Originally selected by St. Louis in the 28th round of the June 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Gregerson was included as the player-to-be-named later to complete the 2008 offseason trade with San Diego that also included pitcher Mark Worrell for shortstop Khalil Greene. Gregerson made 363 appearances over five seasons with the Padres, which ranks third in San Diego club history behind RHP Trevor Hoffman (902) and LHP Craig Lefferts (375).

The Park Ridge, Ill. native was also a member of Team USA in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics, winning the WBC title this past spring.

The addition of Gregerson brings the Cardinals’ 40-man Major League roster to capacity.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals trade Stephen Piscotty to Athletics

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have traded outfielder Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league shortstop Yairo Muñoz and second baseman Max Schrock.

Muñoz, 22, was signed by the Athletics as a non-drafted free agent out of Nagua, Dominican Republic in January of 2012. The 6-foot-1, 165 lb., right-handed hitting infielder played shortstop, third base and center field between Midland (AA) and Nashville (AAA) during the 2017 season. He batted .300 with 13 home runs, 68 RBI and stole 22 bases in 112 games and is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League for the Toros del Este.

Over 504 career minor league games, Muñoz batted .265 with 41 home runs and 237 RBI and 63 stolen bases in 87 attempts. Muñoz was a 2015 Midwest League All-Star at Beloit and a 2014 New York-Penn League All-Star with Vermont.

Schrock, 23, was originally a 13th round draft pick by the Washington Nationals in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina. Schrock was traded to the Athletics in 2016 in exchange for former Cardinals pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. He has batted .324 over his career with a .372 on-base percentage, 18 home runs and 131 RBI over 281 minor league games.

The 5-foot-8, 180 lb., left-handed hitting second baseman was a 2017 Mid-Season and Post-Season Texas League All-Star at Midland (AA) and 2016 South Atlantic League All-Star at Hagerstown (A) including earning the Top Star Honor for the SAL All-Star Game.

In 2017, Schrock ranked fourth in the Texas League with a .321 batting average while ranking third in on-base percentage (.379) and was the “Toughest to Strike Out in” the league registering 10.80 plate appearances per strikeout. Defensively, Schrock led all Texas League second basemen in games (101), total chances (436), put outs (173), assists (257) and double plays (83).

Piscotty, 26, was the Cardinals supplemental first round (33rd overall) draft pick out of Stanford University in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. Piscotty batted .268 with 38 home runs and 163 RBI over 323 career Major League games. He signed a six-year contract extension with the Cardinals on April 3, 2017.

Muñoz has been placed on the Cardinals 40-man Major League roster and Schrock will be assigned to a minor league roster.


Rangerettes square off against the Lady Redbrids this evening

By Steve Dunford

For the next two nights Benton and West Frankfort will be meeting at Max Morris gym.

Both teams records are pretty ugly, the Rangerettes come into the game with a 2-6 record and 1-1 in the conference.  They have a win over Herrin on their resume.

Two of their losses are against the powerhouse Nashville Hornetettes.

West Frankfort’s Max Morris gym, given the name “The Supreme Court” by the late Redbird broadcaster Bruce A. Fasol.

The Lady Redbirds are 1-7 on the season.  (Correct me if I am wrong).  They are 0-2 in the conference.  They were up at halftime against Murphysboro in their last contest.

West Frankfort Coach Matt Hampleman has this to say about tonight’s contest.  . “We have been playing pretty well for longer periods of time. We led Murphy at half down by two at end of third quarter. Missed some easy shots that turned into scores for them. We have been getting better, but are really young.” 

Benton Coach Andy Sloan had this to say about tonight’s game.   “We have been inconsistent and struggled to put  four good quarters together. “We are young, but that’s no excuse at this point. We are really going to have to do a good job of containing WF, especially (Megan) Beery and (Cali) Wright. We must get back in transition and limit them to one shot. Offensively we must be patient and get the shot we want, not the first one we see.”

If you can not make it to the game tonight, you can join Danny Czerwinski on WQRL radio, 106.3 FM, or on the internet at wqrlradio.com





Charles Barkley blasts LaVar Ball for ‘exploiting his kids’

Charles Barkley (Getty Images)

NOTE:  I know you see a lot of sports stories in the opinion page.  This is beyond a sports story.  LaVar Ball is the ultimate helicopter parent.

Lets put it this way of my feelings about LaVar Ball.  I am not going to rush out and buy any Big Baller Brand shoes or T-shirts soon.

You are seeing LaVar pop op on news channels, since his son LiAngelo was picked up on shoplifting charges in China.

I can not keep from falling this soap opera.

Sir Charles nails it here.  Please click on the link below to read the story from Des Bieler of the Washington Post.  -sd


Saluki Men’s Basketball tops Jackson State, 69-51

Kavion Pippen going up for two of his career high 24 Points (siusalukis.com photo)

CARBONDALE, IL. — Armon Fletcher and Kavion Pippen both posted career-highs with 24 points apiece and Southern Illinois held Jackson State to 25 percent shooting in a 69-51 win at SIU Arena on Wednesday night.

The Salukis (5-4) snapped a two-game losing streak and shook off a disappointing loss to regional rival SEMO on Saturday.

“If we didn’t win tonight, I couldn’t go home,” joked SIU head coach Barry Hinson. “My wife just said, ‘if you don’t win, don’t come home tonight.’ You’ve been a jerk. I’m tired of watching you mope around. You’re not very nice. I don’t think I’m going to get Christmas gift. I thought I was going to have to sleep on the couch.”

After SEMO made a dozen threes against the Salukis, Hinson made a lineup change, going with a four-guard attack to surround Pippen, the team’s 6-foot-10 center. The move paid dividends on both ends of the floor, where Jackson State was held to 6-for-22 shooting from the perimeter, and Fletcher had his most active scoring night in and around the paint. The 6-foot-5 wing took a career-high 14 shots, grabbed seven rebounds and was 9-of-10 from the free throw line.

“I think he causes more difficulty to the other team’s four-man than he does to the other team’s perimeter player guarding him,” Hinson said. “They have to come out and guard him, they have to guard him inside. You really have to pay attention to him.”

Pippen was just too big and strong for Jackson State’s smallish front court. He made 10-of-14 shots, including a pair of rim-rattling dunks. He was also the beneficiary of some quality passes from Marcus Bartley, who led the team with seven assists.

The Tigers (3-8) were without leading scorer Chace Franklin, who missed the game with an ankle sprain. They struggled to make shots but kept the score close because they were active on the glass, grabbing 19 offensive boards.

There were eight ties and eight lead changes in the contest before Southern finally pulled away midway through the second half. Trailing, 36-35, SIU went ahead for good on a conventional three-point play by Sean Lloyd with 13:44 remaining. That was the beginning of 13-3 run. Later in the second half, Jackson State went nearly five minutes without a field goal, allowing the Salukis to push the lead to as many as 18 points.

“With no confidence, (against) a team that plays control basketball, a team that does as many change of defenses as they did tonight, I was extremely concerned coming into this game,” Hinson said. “I thought they were a good ball club. There’s only been one team to blow them out, and that’s Louisiana Tech.”

Southern won despite an off-night shooting from 3-point (3-of-13) and a season-high 19 turnovers.

“I’m kind of encouraged,” Hinson said. “We get an 18-point win and we don’t play well on the perimeter. That’s about the best we’ve guarded in a long time.”

The Salukis are still without center Thik Bol, who is recovering from knee surgery, and backup center Rudy Stradnieks missed tonight’s game with a minor injury to his shooting hand.

“We’re only nine games into the season and I’ve never dealt with this much adversity in an entire season,” Hinson said. “When we had to tell them Rudy wasn’t playing, it was kind of a slam.”

SIU continues its four-game homestand with Lamar on Sunday and North Carolina A&T on Tuesday.

“I know what everyone is saying, I get it,” Hinson said. “These are the hardest games for me as a coach. These are the hard ones — the ones everybody says you have to win.”

Box Score