January 10, 2005|
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville men's basketball coach Marty Simmons is proud that his team has won a school-record 13 games in a row, but Simmons knows that the streak can "spin the other way quickly."
The Cougars, ranked 16th in last week's NABC/Division II poll, currently hold the longest winning streak in NCAA Division II men's basketball. The next national ranking is due out Tuesday afternoon.
"We are excited about it," said Simmons. "Our guys know that if we continue to practice hard, pay attention to detail, and get better each and every day, we will have a chance to have a successful season. You have to keep your eye on the ball and stay focused."
SIUE, which also is ranked No. 1 in the first Great Lakes region poll, is 14-2 overall as it sits atop the Great Lakes Valley Conference with a 7-0 record.
The Cougars will entertain Quincy on Saturday as they end a three-game homestand at the Vadalabene Center.
"They have an outstanding team," said Simmons of Quincy. "They can beat you in a lot of different ways. Every night (in the GLVC) whether you are at home or on the road you can expect one heck of a battle."
The Cougars have gained the top spot in the conference with defense. SIUE is first in the GLVC in points per game allowed (58.1) and field goal percentage defense (38.8 percent).
Freshman J.B. Jones (Belleville) is another reason for the Cougars' success. Jones posted a career-high 19 points and six assists in a win over Saint Joseph's and a 17-point, five-assist effort in a victory over UW-Parkside. Jones ranks fourth in the GLVC with 5.25 assists per game.
"J.B. seems to be getting more confident," said Simmons. "He really picked it up in both games and got us going."
Senior Dan Heimos (Waterloo) also had a career-high night in the contest against Saint Joseph's. Heimos had his first career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. He is second in the GLVC in field goal percentage (64.9 percent) and block shots per game (2.44) as well as leading SIUE in rebounding at 6.3 boards per contest.
"A lot of our success stems from him," said Simmons. "He is getting inside baskets, and he is rebounding very well."
Senior Tim Bauersachs (Pinckneyville) leads the team in scoring with 12.0 points a game and is fourth in the GLVC in field goal percentage (62.7 percent).
"I give the seniors a lot of credit," said Simmons. "They have done a great job with their leadership."
Anthony Jones (Centralia) and Michael Sams (Mt. Zion) were big contributors in SIUE's win over Saint Joseph's. Jones netted 17 points, including shooting 7 of 10 from the field. Sams chipped in seven points going 3 of 5 from the floor. Senior Kris Crosby (Belleville) picked up some quality minutes in the win over UW-Parkside. Crosby had six points and five rebounds (four offensive) in 17 minutes.
The Cougars will face the Hawks at 3 p.m. on Saturday.