Tuesday’s box score
SIU 64, Wichita St. 62
Percentages: FG .468, FT .769. 3-Point Goals: 8-16, .500 (Williams 3-4, Cotton 2-3, Armstead 2-4, Wiggins 1-2, Hall 0-1, Early 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 3 (Hall 3). Turnovers: 14 (Armstead 4, Hall 2, Early 2, Cotton 2, Wiggins, Van Vleet, Williams). Steals: 1 (Williams). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .420, FT .714. 3-Point Goals: 7-16, .438 (Lindsay 4-6, Brown-Surles 2-5, Jackson 1-4, Pendleton 0-1). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 2 (Beane, Jr., Drinkard). Turnovers: 6 (Swan 3, Jackson 2, Beane, Jr.). Steals: 5 (Pendleton 2, Early, Jackson, Daniels). Technical Fouls: None.
3626–62S. Illinois 35 29 – 64
Att.–4,852. Officials–John Higgins, Mike Stuart, Rick Randall.
Opinions will differ on the first half meltdown that gave Southern Illinois hope. The Shockers looked sharp, pounded away and led 33-17 with 5:33 seconds to play.
Little went right after that point. SIU’s T.J. Lindsay hit a three-pointer and Jeff Early scored to cut the lead to 33-22. Then the Shockers couldn’t execute, couldn’t lob the ball over the smaller Salukis and couldn’t catch passes. They committed three turnovers on three possessions, missed a shot and turned the ball over again with an offensive foul on Carl Hall.
SIU kept scoring. WSU, once firmly in control, led 36-35 at halftime.
“I feel like we relaxed a little bit, let them back in the game,” guard Nick Wiggins said.
Did it come too easy for the Shockers?
“I don’t know,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said.
Senior Demetric Williams didn’t want to hear talk of a letdown with the lead.
“In my eyes, I didn’t relax,” he said. “If anybody relaxed, if anybody said they relaxed, I feel that’s a slap in the face of the seniors. We just lost two games. I don’t feel anybody should have relaxed.”
Issues at the end
The Shockers bumbled away chances to lead or build a lead in the final seconds after a comeback gave them a lead. Up 60-58, they forced a turnover.
But Malcolm Armstead’s pass to Williams was deflected, as they tried to start the offense near half-court, and Williams fouled Jalen Pendleton. His foul shots tied the game with 1:46 to play. Then Marshall needed to call timeout to rescue Armstead from a turnover.
After the timeout, Carl Hall tipped in a miss to give the Shockers a 62-60 lead. Pendleton tied it with a basket in the lane.
WSU’s offense stalled against SIU’s zone, with the Shockers passing and dribbling around the perimeter as the shot clock ticked away. Williams passed to Armstead, who tried to drive and shoot. He didn’t beat the clock, turning the ball back to SIU with 11.1 seconds to play.
“We’re just running a dribble-drive offense, two senior guards,” Marshall said. “We’ve got two guys with nine years of experience, we’ve got to get a shot there.”
WSU ended a three-game winning streak in Carbondale. WSU also won three straight from 1980 to 1983.… Marshall remains stuck on 128 wins, tied with Mark Turgeon for third at WSU.… Wiggins started his first game as a Shocker. Hall returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 13, before he suffered a broken thumb and missed seven games.… WSU’s Cleanthony Early scored seven points, missing double figures for the first time since he scored two points at Tennessee on Dec. 13.
— Paul Suellentrop