UTSA vs. Southern Illinois
When and Where: Friday, Nov. 8, Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Fla., 7:30 p.m. EST.
After a rough season opener, Texas-San Antonio hopes for better things Friday night when its season-opening road swing continues with the first game of the Sunshine Slam in Florida versus Southern Illinois.
Perimeter woes sink Roadrunners in openerThe Roadrunners were not a standout perimeter-shooting team last season, connecting at a 34.4 percent clip, and the early returns for 2019-20 were not exactly promising. UTSA shot just 5 of 29 (17.2 percent) from beyond the arc, squandering a solid first-half performance in an 85-67 loss at Oklahoma on Tuesday night.
Jhivvan Jackson, the preseason Conference USA Player of the Year, had 24 points and a career-best 13 rebounds, but UTSA was overwhelmed by a 25-7 Sooners burst in the first 7:32 of the second half. Fellow guard Keaton Wallace contributed 17 points and nine rebounds, but the backcourt duo got little help -- the rest of the Roadrunners were a combined 10 for 33.
Jackson and Wallace were the top-scoring backcourt tandem in the country last season, averaging 43.1 points between them. Jackson is a volume shooter with a career mark of 40.3 percent, but he has made 182 3-pointers.
The Roadrunners will continue their tournament schedule Saturday against Oakland before wrapping up play Sunday versus Delaware.
Mullins gets first coaching win ahead of tripBryan Mullins, who is already in Southern Illinois' Hall of Fame as a four-year starter from 2005-09 and helped the Salukis to the 2007 NCAA Tournament regional semifinals, got his coaching career at his alma mater off to a positive start with a 76-48 rout of Illinois Wesleyan on Tuesday night.
"In anything I do, whether it be practice, cheering everyone on, whatever it is, I want to be there for everybody and create a winning culture."#Salukis // #TougherTogether— Saluki Basketball (@SIU_Basketball) November 6, 2019
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Eric McGill had 19 points to pace five players in double figures for the Salukis, who shot 49 percent and limited their Division III opponents to 2 of 23 shooting from 3-point range. Aaron Cook chipped in 10 points, seven rebounds, and five assists as Mullins was able to get at least 16 minutes for eight players ahead of this demanding three-day tournament.
One player who did not play Tuesday night, Ronnie Suggs, sat out with a calf strain and is questionable for this game. Suggs is a graduate transfer from Missouri, where he averaged 1.7 points while appearing in 27 games last season.
Another transfer ex-Northwestern center Barrett Benson, had a career-high 15 points in the opener.
"They've put in the work over the years, and they've played behind some really good players at different schools," Mullins told the Southern Illinoisan regarding his transfers. "I think they have a chip on their shoulder. They're motivated. They want to leave a legacy here, and they've been the hardest-workers to go along with Eric (McGill) and Aaron (Cook)."
- 17-8 ATS in its last 25 games.
- 15-3 ATS in its last 18 games as a favorite.
- 11-3 ATS in its last 14 games as a favorite between 0.5-6.5 points.
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven games vs. Conference USA teams.
- 1-4 ATS in its last five games vs. sub-.500 teams.