By Lance Jordan, Sports Editor
The Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Salukis hit the final point of the game, giving SIU Carbondale a 72-67 victory over the visiting University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons in an exhibition match in the SIU arena, the night of November 3.
Scoring the first point of the matchup was forward Dre Holmes, senior, business management, with a three pointer at the 19:43 mark of the first half. Unfortunately UMSL did not stay in the lead to close the first half, despite tying the score multiple times with SIU. A foul by SIU allowed UMSL guard Steven Davis, junior, business management, to make both free throws to put the score at 33-36 at the end of the first half.
In the second half UMSL took the lead up until the 14:37 mark largely due to Joseph English, senior, communications, scoring a jumper at 19:32, a layup at 18:38, a three pointer at 17:21, and another layup at 15:31. With the score tied 44-44, the Tritons continued to battle the Salukis for control. UMSL’s last point came from a bucket by Elijah Watson, junior, accounting, at the 2:49 mark for a 67-65 lead.
But unfortunately, it would be the SIU Salukis who scored the final seven points of the game to earn the victory, ending the Tritons’ two-point lead with under three minutes to play. The game consisted of 16 ties and 18 lead changes, and no lead greater than six points by either team.
English was the top scorer of the night for the Tritons with 13 points, 11 of which came in the second half of the game. English was closely followed by fellow senior Hunter Reine, senior, criminal justice, who scored 12 points. Reine also accumulated 12 rebounds during the game, greatly aiding UMSL’s 36-31 rebounding advantage.
Leading up to this exhibition match, the men’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the West Division of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, released by the league office in late October. Another noticeable name on the list is sixth spot Maryville. Fans of last season will remember that the Tritons won their final regular season game at Maryville to get the bid to the league’s postseason tournament for their sixth consecutive year.
Under direction of fourth-year head coach Bob Sundvold, the Tritons will look to improve on their 12-16 record from the 2015-2016 season. Coach Sundvold will once again have assistant coach Charles (Chico) Jones accompanying him, as Jones enters his 38th season as assistant coach. New to their coaching staff this year are assistant coaches Scott Gautier and Jesse Shaw. Gauthier comes to UMSL from Webster Groves High School, serving seven years as varsity assistant, while Shaw comes from Pratt Community College, serving his last five of eight seasons as head coach.
UMSL’s regular 2016-17 season officially tips off November 11 as they host the Ferris State Bulldogs. Then on November 12 they will host the Grand Valley State Lakers. Both matches will be a part of the GLVC/GLIAC challenge.