CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois men’s basketball will take the floor for the first time in 2022-23 when it takes on Alabama in a charity exhibition game on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Foster Auditorium.
For students only, teams will play a full 40-minute regulation game. Proceeds from the contest will benefit the community service programs of West Alabama’s Alberta Head Start program. Fans can follow the action via Alabama Radio by clicking HERE or by watching live stats HERE .
The exhibition game serves as a tune-up for the Salukis before the team’s regular season opener against Little Rock on Nov. 7 at the Banterra Center. Discounted tickets are available in Section 113 of the Banterra Center and can be purchased at SIUSalukis.com/PackThePound.
Picked third in the MVC preseason poll, head coach Bryan Mullins returns three starters and two double-digit scorers from last year to join four returning letterwinners. Additionally, the Salukis added key pieces with six freshmen, including three Division I transfers.
Leading the returnees for SIU is senior forward Marcus Domask, who led the Salukis in scoring (15.1), rebounds (5.2) and assists (3.9) a year ago — just the third player in school history to accomplish the feat. to Darren Brooks and Desmar. Jackson. Domask, a preseason first-team All-MVC selection, scored 20-plus points eight times and shot .352 from 3-point range and .824 from the free throw line.
Guard Lance Jones was second on the team and eighth in the MVC in scoring (14.8) — scoring 20 or more points in eight games — after starting 29 games for the Salukis last season. Named preseason second-team All-MVC in 2022-23 and to the MVC All-Defensive team a year ago, Jones led the Missouri Valley Conference with 1.93 steals per game.
Also returning for SIU is forward JD Muila, who started 24 games and averaged 3.1 points and 4.1 rebounds. Back for Southern are Dalton Banks (4.6 ppg), Trent Brown (2.2 ppg), Chris Cross and Troy D’Amico. Guard Foster Wonders and center Scottie Ebube will be looking to make an impact after redshirting a year ago.
Four transfers will have an immediate impact on the Salukis this season as Clarence Rupert, Xavier Johnson, Jawaun Newton and AJ Ferguson join the team. Rupert, a transfer from Saint Peter’s with three years of eligibility remaining, is coming off the Elite-8 tournament with the Peacocks. The 6-foot forward appeared in 30 games, averaging 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13 minutes per game.
Johnson, a George Mason transfer, averaged 7.7 points and 4.1 rebounds in his junior season after playing in 28 games, including 23 starts. His team-high 4.6 assists per game ranked eighth in the A-10. Ferguson comes to Carbondale after a season at East Central University in Oklahoma where he averaged 11.1 points and 3.7 rebounds.
Newton, who is familiar to Saluki fans, comes to SIU after four years in Evansville. During his career with the Purple Aces, he averaged eight points, 3.6 rebounds and one assist in 103 games, including 65 starts. Also joining the Salukis this season were true freshmen forward Cade Hornecker and guard JR Jacobs.
Alabama finished the 2021-22 season with a 19-14 overall record including a 9-9 mark in SEC play. UA advanced to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 6 seed, falling to Notre Dame in the first round. SIU is 0-2 against the Crimson Tide with the last meeting going back to the 2004 season.
Men’s basketball season tickets for the 2022-23 season are on sale now, with prices starting as low as $125. For more information, fans can call the SIU Ticket Office at 877-SALUKIS.
Keep up with all the latest Saluki news and information by following the team on Twitter at @SIU_Basketball, on Instagram at @SIU_Basketball and on Facebook at Facebook.com/SalukiAthletics. Fans can also download the “Salukis” mobile app from the App Store or Google Play Store.