Football Salukis announce 2020 schedule

CARBONDALE — The SIU football team announced its largely regional 2020 schedule on Monday.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Indiana State spoils Senior Night with a 79-68 win over Salukis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Indiana State men’s basketball team shot a blistering 57.4% from the field to ruin SIU’s Senior Night, 79-68, on Wednesday night at Banterra Center. Indiana State shot 63% from the field in the first half, including 6-for-8 from the 3-point line, and limited SIU to 38.5% shooting in the second half to hold on.

Defense has been SIU’s calling card this season — the Salukis (16-14, 10-7 MVC) came into the game ranked in the top-10 nationally in scoring defense. But Indiana State (17-9, 10-7 MVC) picked it apart tonight. Indiana State shot the highest field goal percentage of any SIU opponent this season and scored the second-most points against SIU, behind only Murray State’s 79 points back in mid-November.

“We always say, ‘Tough 2’s are tough 2’s.’ That’s what we want them to shoot. They made a couple tough 2’s, and they made a couple tough 3’s. That’s not why they beat us,” SIU head coach Bryan Mullins said. “They beat us because they consistently played harder than us and executed better than us. We have to do a better job making them feel us. Defensively, we weren’t good enough to win tonight.”

The Trees hit a plethora of tough shots in the first half but were most deadly behind the 3-point line, where they went 6-of-8. In the second half, Indiana State essentially abandoned the 3-point line, going 0-for-2, but they ended up with 38 points in the paint for the game. Indiana State’s two all-conference caliber guards, Tyreke Key and Jordan Barnes, were especially impressive, combining for 41 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds; and the pair combined to shoot 16-for-25 (64%) from the field.

Despite the loss, SIU’s fan support was outstanding again, with a crowd of 5,297 turning out on Senior Night to show appreciation for seniors Barret Benson, Eric McGill and Ronnie Suggs Jr. The Salukis wrap up the 2019-20 season with a 12-3 home record, which included a 10-game home court winning streak that was the program’s longest in more than a decade. After the game, Benson went out of his way to thank the fans.

“I appreciate the fans and the community more than they can ever imagine for giving this senior group, and specifically me, an amazing senior year,” Benson said. “I also want to apologize because we didn’t go out the way we should have in this building. We put in too many hours to play the way we did tonight. But again, all year the fans have been amazing. We really appreciate that, and the program will continue to need that down the road.”

To start the game, SIU jumped out to a seven-point lead in the game’s first 10 minutes. But Lance Jones — who scored or assisted on 6 of SIU’s first 7 field goals — picked up his second foul and went to the bench. Indiana State turned it around and finished the half by hitting 9 of their last 10 shots. The Sycamores extended their lead to double digits early in the second half to force an SIU timeout. The Salukis came out of the timeout and went on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to one, 53-52, with 12 minutes to go. Brendon Gooch was a huge part of that run, with a career-high 3 steals and two assists during one 2 minutes, 20 second stretch.

But the Salukis just couldn’t get over the hump. From the 12-minute mark until the final 90 seconds, SIU never trailed by more than five points, and the Salukis cut the lead to one or tied the game five separate times — but the Sycamores went 5-for-5 on the ensuing possessions to keep SIU at arm’s reach.

“This is a big-time gut-check team win for us over a team that’s been the hardest team to score against in the league all year, the No. 1 defensive team in the league,” Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing said.

Benson led SIU with 17 points and 8 rebounds on his Senior Night. Eric McGill scored 14, and Lance Jones scored 16 on 6-of-8 shooting. For Indiana State, in addition to Barnes and Key, Jake LaRavia had 14 points, 5 rebound, and 4 blocked shots. Christian Williams had 11 points and 6 assists.

UP NEXT: SIU closes the regular season at Missouri State on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.

NOTES: The teams combined to go 21-for-21 from the free throw line (SIU was 12-12; INS was 9-9) … SIU lost when recording 15+ assists for the first time this year (8-1) … SIU’s four-game home court winning streak in the SIU-INS series was snapped … SIU fell to 14-5 on Senior Day in the last 19 seasons.

Lady Warriors finish our regular season, post season play begins next week

With an 89-82 loss to Lake Land College tonight, the Rend Lake Lady Warriors finished the regular season 16-14 overall and 12-6 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference.

Coach Dave Brown has his squad playing very well as RLC readies for its district tournament next Tuesday. The Lake will likely be a top-four seed. It’s a huge turnaround for a program that won four games last season.

Averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds per game, Rend Lake freshman Madison Buford (St. Louis) will be called upon to lead the Lady Warriors. Louisville product Dais’Ja Trotter (15 ppg / 10 rpg) and defensive specialists Niya Danfort (St. Louis) and Makayla Marshall (Baton Rouge) will play big roles as well. Other contributors will include Timberly Masching (Doniphan, Mo.), Haleigh Keeling (Vienna), Megan Beery (West Frankfort), Rachel Jennings (Fairfield), Angel Helm (Anna), and Sami Mccowen (Waltonville).

Goreville, Meridian advance to semifinals at Class 1A Crab Orchard Regional

GOREVILLE — The field of the eight-team Class 1A Crab Orchard Regional was whittled down to six after top-seeded Goreville and No. 7 seed Meridian both posted wins Monday night

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

NubAbility Athletics Foundation announces nominations for Game Changers honors

DUQUOIN, IL – NubAbility® Athletics Foundation announced today that nominations are open for the 2020 Game Changer Honors, which recognize a Southern Illinois high school athlete, Southern Illinois coach and a limb-different athlete from the states of Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, or Tennessee who have overcome a life-altering challenge to excel at their sport. The awards will be presented at NubAbility’s Game Changer benefit on April 25, 2020 by SIU football coach Nick Hill. The deadline for nominations is March 15th.

“We couldn’t do our annual camp in DuQuoin, Illinois without the volunteer work of area athletes and coaches,” said NubAbility founder and executive director Sam Kuhnert. “This is our way of giving back to the community that has given so much to us.” NubAbility’s annual All-Sport Camp draws almost 200 limb-different children and their families to the region each July, where they learn to compete in mainstream sports. More than 400 volunteers assist with the camp.

Eligible nominees will have surmounted a physical, emotional or environmental challenge during their season of play. Additional requirements include:
– Game Changer Athlete of the Year. Current high school student, male or female, residing in Southern Illinois. Award includes a $500 scholarship.
– Jerry Kill Coach of the Year. Coach of any sport, male or female, for any age level, residing in Southern Illinois.
– Kevin Crafton #DontNeed2 Athlete of the Year. Student age 10 – 23, male or female, with congenital or traumatic limb loss, cerebral palsy or frozen limb, residing in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, or Tennessee. Student should be highly competitive in a mainstream sport. Award includes a scholarship to NubAbility’s 2020 All-Sport Camp as an athlete or student coach.

For more information about the awards or to submit a nomination, please visit https://form.jotform.com/nubability_athletics/GameChangerHonors.

NubAbility’s Game Changer Honors are part of the foundation’s Game Changer benefit, an annual fundraiser sponsored by IBEW Local 702, River Radio, Southern Illinois Healthcare, the SIU Salukis, and Wells Fargo. Hosted by Route 51 Brewing Co., the BBQ dinner and auction will take place in Elkville on April 25, 2020 starting at 5:00 pm. Honorary event chair and SIU football coach Nick Hill and River Radio host Steve Falat will emcee. The after-party will feature the Tucker Kuhnert Band. For more information about Game Changer benefit sponsorships, please call Jana Kuhnert at 618/790-6675, email jana@nubability.org or visit https://www.jotform.com/nubability_athletics/gamechangersponsorremit.

ABOUT NUBABILITY
NubAbility® Athletics Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that operates a national series of camps designed to get children with congenital or traumatic limb loss out of the stands, off the bench and into competitive mainstream sports. The viral video Boy With No Arms Does Box Jump, which received national media attention in 2019, illustrates the power and pride our campers experience when they overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. NubAbility participants leave camp confident they can win at athletics and in life.

Founded in 2011, NubAbility will offer camps in eight states and provide services to more than 400 children in 2020. The organization’s volunteer coaching team is made up of 100 limb-different collegiate and professional athletes in 20 sports. For more information, visit www.nubability.org.

Carterville holds off Teutopolis for trip to state

MCLEANSBORO — As time expired Monday night, Abbey Crain fired the basketball from end to end. Jeniah Thompson and Megan Barton jumped into each other’s arms near midcourt.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

War of words on Astros scandal now involves partial tattoo

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The verbal sparring between the Houston Astros and others around the majors over the team’s sign-stealing scandal is reaching new levels of absurdity — from accusations of illiteracy to claims about a player’s partial tattoo.

Here’s the link to the story.

With March Madness looming, lawmakers renew college athlete endorsement push

SPRINGFIELD — One month ahead of the tipoff of March Madness, Illinois lawmakers — backed by a pair of NBA brothers — are renewing a push to allow college athletes to profit from the use of their name and likeness.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Salukis’ comeback falls just short versus Bradley, 69-67

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The SIU men’s basketball team erased a 21-point Bradley lead, but the Braves held on for a 69-67 win on Saturday afternoon at Banterra Center.

“I’m proud of our guys for how they responded in the second half. The first half wasn’t us,” SIU head coach Bryan Mullins said. “We didn’t play the right way, and give credit to Bradley coming out and starting the game the right way. We challenged the guys at halftime, and they really responded. They gave themselves a chance to win the game. We need to do a better job executing at the end of the game; we need to learn from this and get better as a team.”

Bradley (18-9, 9-5 MVC) came out on fire, hitting 5-of-10 3-pointers in the first half. The Braves raced out to a 21-point lead. SIU’s Trent Brown hit a 3-pointer at the break to cut SIU’s halftime deficit to 18. But it was the start of a 19-4 SIU run that cut a 21-point deficit to just 6 with 14 minutes left. By the 8-minute mark, the Salukis (15-12, 9-5 MVC) had come all the way back to tie the game on a Marcus Domask 3-pointer, and Domask hit another 3-pointer a minute later to give SIU the lead. SIU was trying to pull off a 21-point comeback, which would have been the fifth-largest comeback in MVC history.

The loss snapped SIU’s 10-game home court winning streak, which was the longest for the program since 2006-08. But a big reason for that winning streak — SIU’s fan base — was on display. More than 5,700 in attendance nearly willed the Salukis back from the deficit.

“I’ll tell you what, Southern Illinois is rocking right now in their home arena. It’s as loud as I’ve heard this place in five years,” Bradley head coach Brian Wardle said. “I give my players a lot of credit. We didn’t play great in the second half, but we didn’t lose our composure. We stayed with it. We made timely plays when we needed to stop their runs because I was running out of timeouts.”

SIU’s second-half surge was spearheaded by two freshmen: Domask and Lance Jones. The pair combined for 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting, and Jones added three assists. Eric McGill was steady all night, pouring in 8 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

Right after SIU took the lead, Bradley star center Elijah Childs hit an and-1 to give Bradley the lead back. Childs was expected to be an MVC Player of the Year candidate this season but has battled injuries. This was his third game back on the court, and the Braves a 3-0 in those games. He scored 19 points in each of his first two games back and added 14 points and 9 rebounds today. Bradley, which won the MVC Tournament title last year, has all its major pieces in place after battling injuries all season.

“Bradley is a great team. That’s an NCAA Tournament team that is fully healthy,” Mullins said. “They were coming in here determined to win. I challenged our guys to be that type of team. If we play the right way, we’re as good as anyone in this league. With the type of guys we have in the locker room, with their character, I knew they would respond.”

Down the stretch, SIU’s offense and defense couldn’t feed the other. At one point, SIU scored on five-straight possessions, but Bradley scored on four of five possessions in that same stretch to maintain a 67-64 lead with 4:08 to go. Then, SIU got five-straight stops on the defensive end, but couldn’t score on the offensive end. Bradley’s Darrell Brown hit a free throw line jumper with 17 seconds left to essentially seal the game. SIU’s only points in the final 4:08 came on Eric McGill’s 60-foot heave at the buzzer that cut a 5-point deficit to a 69-67 final score.

UP NEXT: SIU is off until Thursday, when the Salukis host Evansville at 7 p.m. in Banterra Center.

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A lifelong Cardinal? Wong would welcome contract conversation to ‘see how far we can push it’

JUPITER, Fla. — The time Kolten Wong purchased by agreeing to a contract extension two years into his big-league career paid off for him and the Cardinals with a Gold Glove Award and career year offensively this past year.

Here’s a link to the story at St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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