CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois and Belmont will face off in a deciding game on Wednesday night in Nashville. The Salukis will enter the game fourth in the MVC standings with a record of 8-6, while the Bruins are in a three-way tie for fifth place with a record of 7-7. The game will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Curb Event Center.
WHERE TO WATCH AND LISTEN

  • The game will be available on ESPN Plus with action from Steve Layman (play-by-play) and Greg Sage (analyst).
  • The radio broadcast can be heard on the Saluki Radio Network, SIUSalukis.com/Listen, the Saluki mobile app and the Varsity Network app, with calls led by Luke Martin (play-by-play) and Rodney Watson (analyst).

QUICK HITS

  • Southern Illinois is ranked 109th in the network and Belmont is ranked 149th.
  • SIU is holding its opponents to 29.3 percent from three-point range – 16th best in the nation.
  • Southern is shooting 36.1% from beyond the arc and ranks 69th in the country.
  • The Salukis rank fourth in the MVC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.24.
  • SIU's scoring defense ranks 43rd in the country, holding opponents to 66.4 points per game.
  • SIU is shooting 76.4% of its free throws, which is second in the MVC and 26th in the country.
  • The Salukis rank 60th in the nation in effective field goal percentage at 54.1%.
  • SIU is 29-2 under Bryan Mullins when scoring 75 or more points and 53-8 when scoring 70 or more points.
  • Bryan Mullins is the fourth-fastest coach in program history to 80 wins – 142 games.
  • SIU has nine double-digit wins this season with 16 overall. Most wins in a single season by more than 10 points SIU has had under a head coach Bryan Mullins is 10 in the 2019-2020 season, and three of them were MVC victories.

XAVIER JOHNSON…

  • was placed on two mid-season watch lists: Lute Olson (National Player of the Year) and Lue Henson (Mid-Major Player of the Year).
  • ranks second nationally in scoring at 23.7 points per game and has scored 16 or more points in all 25 games.
  • ranks 13th in the country and leads the MVC with 6.1 assists per game.
  • ranks fourth in the nation with 180 free throws made and eighth in the nation in free throws made (200).
  • is the only player in the nation averaging 20 or more points, shooting better than 40 percent or better from the field, 40 percent or better from three, 85 percent or better from the free throw line and averaging five or more assists per game.
  • shot a program record 20 free throws against UIC, surpassing Charlie Vaughn's record of 18 attempts against Belmont in 1960. Johnson also set a school record for free throws, making 18 of 20. Charlie Vaughn scored 16 against Villa Madonna in 1960.

SEE THE NUMBERS

  • Xavier Johnson is one of five players in SIU history to have six or more games in a season scoring more than 30 points. He played in six of 19 games with over 30 points in the MVC. His 15 games with over 20 points lead the MVC.
  • Xavier Johnson dished out 153 assists (second in SIU history) this season – 6.1 per game – Bryan Mullins is the record holder in the 2007/2008 season, scoring 154 assists.
  • Xavier Johnson that's two free throws away from matching the single-season mark (182) set by Freddie McSwain in 1990.
  • Sharpshooter Trent Brown he enters the game with 163 career three-pointers – 10th in program history. Brown ranks seventh in program history with 464 three-pointers.
  • Forward Clarence Rupert has three double-doubles this season – surpassing SIU's double-double total last year.

SERIES

  • This will be the fourth time Southern Illinois and Belmont have met on the hardwood and the third time since Belmont joined the MVC. SIU defeated the Bruins at home 73-63 earlier in the season and heads to Nashville to face BU for the first time. Just a year ago, Southern played Belmont in front of a national television audience, defeating the Bruins 63-45 on New Year's Day. The Salukis hosted Belmont to open the regular season in 2001, defeating the Bruins 82-71.

GAME

  • Belmont enters the game with a 14-11 overall record and 7-7 in the MVC.
  • The Bruins were picked to finish fifth in the MVC preseason poll.
  • Belmont features the winners of their last two games – a home win against Murray State and an away win against Valpo.
  • The Bruins are averaging 77.5 points per game and are led by a trio of double-digit scorers: Malik Dia (17.8), Ja'Kobi Gillespie (16.7) and Cade Tyson (16.5).
  • Xavier Johnson led the Salukis with 18 points in a 73-63 win over Belmont on Jan. 2. The SIU bench was able to outrebound the Bruins 31-10 led by AJ Ferguson (15) i Scottie the Great (12).

LAST TIME

  • SIU won its 11th game at the Banterra Center on Saturday, defeating Illinois State 69-66.
  • Johnson led the Salukis with 17, while Ebube had 10.
  • SIU was able to assist on 15 of its 25 made baskets, and Johnson lost the assist and fell short of tying his career high with nine dimes in the game and leading all players.

FOLLOW THE SALUKIS

Stay up to date with the latest Saluki news and information by following the team on Twitter at @SIU_Basketballon Instagram at @SIU_Basketball, and on Facebook at Facebook.com/SalukiAthletics. Fans can also download the “Salukis” mobile app on the website App Store Or Google Play Store.



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