Southern Illinois makes quick work of Northern IllinoisNov 18, 2007 - 6:25 AM CARBONDALE, Illinois (Ticker) -- Southern Illinois is not resting on its laurels.
The 21st-ranked Salukis scored the first 17 points of the game and breezed to an 88-68 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday in its season opener.
Bryan Mullins scored 15 of his career-high tying 16 points in the first half as Southern Illinois raced to a 17-0 lead by holding the Huskies (0-4) scoreless for over 9 1/2 minutes.
"Bryan Mullins was very special today, pushing the basketball, making things happen, being what we thought he could be," Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery said. "So many people have been worried about what he can't do. We saw the things that he can do, and he can do them very, very well."
The Salukis, who are coming off a school-record 29-win season and a trip to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16, improved to 80-3 at home since the start of the 2001-02 season.
Northern Illinois missed its first 12 shots from the field, its first three free throw attempts and had committed eight fouls before Ryan Paradise scored with 10:12 left in the first half.
"It was ugly, wasn't it?" Northern Illinois coach Ricardo Patton said. "I thought our kids played aggressive defensively, but at some point, regardless of how hard you play on the defensive end, you have to put the ball in the basket."
Southern Illinois, which has won 20 games and reached the NCAAs six straight seasons, led by as many as 27 points (43-16) in the first half on Brandon Wood's 3-pointer with 1:05 left.
"Brandon brought great energy, especially in the first half," Mullins said. "He can really play offensively. There's no doubt about that. He's ready to shoot every time."
Matt Shaw scored 16 points and Wood finished with 15 on 6-of-9 shooting for the Salukis, who played with junior guard Wesley Clemmons. He sat out with a sprained ankle.
Jarvis Nichols scored 18 points and Jake Anderson added 14 for the Huskies, who fell to 2-25 all-time against ranked opponents.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
NORTHN ILLINOIS 21 47 68
SOUTHN ILLINOIS (21) 43 45 88 FINAL
Nov 17 10:14 PM
- NCAA BB
NORTHN ILLINOIS 21
(21) SOUTHN ILLINOIS 43 HALFTIME
Nov 17 9:05 PM
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