for this game

Tatum, Southern Illinois suffocate the Hokies

Mar 19, 2007 - 1:11 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Jamaal Tatum and a suffocating defense enabled Southern Illinois to set a school record for wins in a season. The Salukis now get a chance to add to that total in the "Sweet 16."

Tatum scored 21 points, including six 3-pointers, to lead fourth-seeded Southern Illinois to a 63-48 victory over fifth-seeded Virginia Tech in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's West Region.

The Salukis (29-6) will play top-seeded Kansas in the regional semifinals at San Jose on Thursday.

Southern Illinois previously reached the regional semifinals in 1977 and 2002.

"I knew we had the personnel to advance this far," Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery said. "I'm not saying that I knew we were going to beat them (Virginia Tech), but I wasn't nervous."

The Salukis, who last reached the Sweet 16 in 2002, rank fourth in the nation in defense (56.5 ppg) and throttled the Hokies (22-12), who shot 41 percent from the field. Their leading scorer Zabian Dowdell was barely a factor. After averaging 18.3 points this season, Dowdell finished with just seven on 3-of-9 shooting from the field.

"They have guys that do a good job of contesting shots and staying in front of the ball," Dowdell said.

Jamon Gordon scored 16 points and Deron Washington added 15 for Virginia Tech. The rest of the Hokies shot just 24 percent (6-of-25). Virginia Tech, one of seven Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the NCAA Tournament, had not scored fewer than 54 points in a game this season.

"We couldn't get anything offensively," Washington said. "Their defense slowed us down. We couldn't get any of our shots to fall and that obviously hurt us."

Southern Illinois made 12-of-21 shots from 3-point range while the Hokies converted just 2-of-13 shots from the arc.

"Today they doubled down a lot on Randall (Falker) and Tony Boyle and we stepped up and knocked down shots from the outside," Tatum said. "Coach told us to keep shooting shots from far and we did that."

The Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, Tatum made 6-of-9 shots from the arc and Tony Young added 17 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Salukis.

Tatum scored nine of his points in a 15-5 run which helped Southern Illinois build a 28-20 halftime lead.

The Salukis increased the lead to as many as 17 points in the final minute.

"That's a very good basketball team, extremely well-coached, tough and aggressive," Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. "They played great defense in transition and we just missed a lot of shots."

Falker finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

"I kind of expected the double teams," Falker said. "They did that to me when we played them earlier in the year."

Southern Illinois defeated the Hokies, 69-64, in January.








  • WEST REGIONAL
    AT COLUMBUS OH
    NCAA BB WEST REGIONAL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
    --- --- -----
    VIRGINIA TECH 20 28 48
    SOUTHN ILLINOIS 28 35 63 FINAL

    Mar 18 5:13 PM


  • WEST REGIONAL
    AT COLUMBUS OH
    NCAA BB (5) VIRGINIA TECH 20
    (4) SOUTHN ILLINOIS 28 HALFTIME

    Mar 18 3:57 PM