It's never good when a road trip starts off with a flat tire.
That's a lesson the SIU men's basketball team probably just learned.
The Salukis have lost five of their last six games and its most recent loss, a 62-48 downer at the hands of Nevada, might have been the most puzzling to me.
SIU (3-5) was up 27-24 at halftime, but it was a lead that wasn't meant to be as the Wolfpack opened the second half on a 16-0 run. You've got to give it to the Salukis for being resillient throughout their early season struggles. They cut the Nevada (5-4) lead to six when senior forward Tony Boyle (14 points 7 rebounds) knocked down a jumper with 4:10 remaining in the game before the Wolfpack's Armon Johnson took over.
Johnson scored a game-high 16 points, eight of which came in the games final five minutes to ice the win for the home team.
For more on the Saluki loss, I turn it over to my alter ego, Stat Boy. And as always, important stats are bold.
Speaking of turning it over, turnovers played a big role in the demise of SIU as it committed 18 turnovers. Giving the ball away when you're shooting 28.3 percent from the field isn't going to help a team struggling to find its offensive identity.
By the way, the Salukis have committed 95 turnovers in their five losses this season (19 per game average) for those of you keeping score at home.
SIU head coach Chris Lowery played lineup shuffle again Sunday as he inserted senior guard Wesley Clemmons into the starting five. It's hard to argue with the move, especially after he lit up Charlotte from beyond the arc as he went 4-for-5 from 3-point territory. However, his numbers took a dive against Nevada as he went 0-for-4 from the field, scoring 1 point off a free-throw.
Clemmons didn't get any help from his backcourt mates either. Saluki guards not named Bryan Mullins (13 points 5 assists 4 steals) combined for 5 points on 1-for-9 shooting from the field. The much-heralded class of Kevin Dillard, Torres Roundtree, Ryan Hare and Justin Bocot need to find a way to fill up the cup. It will make the lives of Boyle, sophomore forward Carlton Fay and the rest of the bigs easier.
In a positive note for SIU, it was able to outrebound Nevada 29-27, with 14 of those coming on the offensive glass. It's too bad the Salukis were unable to turn them all into second chance points.
SIU returns to the great state of Illinois Wednesday night as it travels to DeKalb to face Northern Illinois. Here's hoping the team has a short memory and can get back in the win column and help Chris Lowery win his 100th game as Saluki head coach.