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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois was inspired offensively by coach Barry Hinsons return to the bench following a death in the family, and the Salukis shot 54 per cent. It wasnt nearly good enough against No. 8 Wichita State. Fred VanVleet had 17 points, seven assists, two steals and no turnovers and the Shockers remained unbeaten behind 62 per cent shooting, opening Missouri Valley Conference play with an 82-67 victory Thursday night. "Were glad to get out of here with a win," coach Gregg Marshall said. "I knew that with everything thats been going on with Coach Hinson, the way the team had rallied around him and then with the tragedy with his family, we were honestly afraid that this team would pull out something special." Hinson returned after missing one game due to the death of his son-in-law, 31-year-old Niles Thomason, on Christmas while visiting family. In an emotional postgame news conference, the usually fiery coach blamed himself for the loss, saying he just wasnt up to it. He also pointed out that Wichita State was very, very good and coming off a Final Four appearance, and said the key to game was the "the little stinker VanVleet." Last month after a loss at Murray State, Hinson called players "mamas boys," then later apologized for singling out a player for criticism. "Tonight, I dont mind telling you Im going to point the finger at me," Hinson said, his voice halting at times. "When youre 52 years old, you ought to be mature enough to at least figure out how to fake it, and get your guys energized. "And I couldnt do that, so I take full responsibility." Hinson said the death hit him hard on New Years Eve. "The biggest thing that bothers me is Im a basketball coach and Im a father and we fix things," Hinson said. "And I cant, I cant, fix this." Cleanthony Early scored 23 points for the Shockers (14-0, 1-0), the preseason conference favourites. The 14-0 start is five wins better than the schools previous best and the 14-game winning streak matches the school mark set in 1953-54 under coach Ralph Miller. "Like Coach says, its easy to get a good look every time when youre setting yourself up," Early said. "Its easy to fall in love with just trying to score every time when you get a big lead like that but we stayed patient and stayed focused." Sean OBrien and Desmar Jackson had 19 points apiece for Southern Illinois (4-10, 0-1), which upset Wichita State at home last February the week after the Shockers had been knocked out of the Top 25. "This group plays a little smarter than that group at times," Marshall said. "It starts with Fred." Nick Wiggins added 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting for Wichita State. Southern Illinois was out of it early despite its strong shooting. OBrien topped his previous career best of 11 points. Wichita State shot 59 per cent to go with a 16-8 rebounding advantage and near error-free play while building a 49-32 halftime lead, committing its lone turnover with about 3 minutes to go. The Shockers got contributions across the board with an 18-0 run over a span of 3:19 that made it 33-16 with just over 8 minutes to go. Darius Carter opened the run with consecutive baskets and the Shockers got three-point plays from Early and VanVleet plus 3-pointers by Wiggins and VanVleet. Late in the half, Cotton and Early got behind the Southern Illinois defence on consecutive possessions in transition. The Shockers are 30-8 on the road the last three seasons, best in the nation. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Jersey . Canada Day is here and with it comes Free Agent Frenzy as the NHLs 30 teams storm out of the gate for signing season. Nerlens Noel Jersey . -- Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is being checked for a possible concussion after blowing a tire on his way to the first workout of spring training. https://www.cheapthunder.com/261h-dale-e...ey-thunder.html. Top-ranked Rafael Nadal was also taken to three sets but emerged with a 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 win over Tobias Kamke of Germany, while second-seeded David Ferrer joined Murray in making an early exit after a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Daniel Brands of Germany. Eddie Johnson Jersey . The Packers, Lions and Bears were a combined 35-15 and as long as Jay Cutler can say healthy, all three could make the playoffs in 2012. Detlef Schrempf Jersey . The biggest shock of this seasons competition was on when Watford took a 2-0 lead after 30 minutes at Etihad Stadium, only for a remarkable Aguero-led comeback by City in the final half-hour. The Argentina striker produced clinical finishes in the 60th and 79th minutes to level the score before Aleksandar Kolarov put City in front in the 87th.Norway and China remained unbeaten and the U.S. finally picked up a win Wednesday in mens curling at the Sochi OIympics. Wearing flat caps, knee-length knickers and dark blue soccer socks, the stylish Norwegians beat Germany 8-5 for a third consecutive victory. "It was knickerbockers vs. lederhosen today," Norway curler Christoffer Svae said. "And the knickerbockers won." China defeated Switzerland 5-4 for its third win without a loss. Sweden, also 3-0, had a bye in the morning session at the Ice Cube Curling Center. The U.S. men and women were a combined 0-5 after two days play, but John Shusters team ended the losing streak by beating Denmark 9-5, with five of its points coming from steals. "Getting a win was huge both for our team and for the state of curling as far as our country goes," Shuster said. Shuster said the arrival of his wife Sarah and 9-month-old son Luke in Sochi on Tuesday sparked an improvement in his performance, after disappointing losses to Norway and China. "I got a text message from my wife last night that helped me get in a much better mindset," he said. "She just told me to remember to enjoy this and be a curler, because you are out here doing something that you have fun doing. "It really changed my complete beinng.dddddddddddd" There are four games in the evening session, including Canada vs. Russia and Denmark vs. Sweden. The Canadians (1-2) have made an underwhelming start to the defense of their title. Norway caused a stir in the Vancouver Games in 2010 by donning diamond-printed pants for their matches instead of the usual black curling trousers that most teams wear. In Sochi, the Norwegians have gone a step further and unleashed their new, bold range of clothing on the Germans. The cap -- known as a sixpence -- is Norwegian-patterned with different colors and different shapes. The socks are exactly the same type worn by Norways soccer players. The pattern on the knickers was sharp red-and-blue teeth. Norway, the 2010 silver medalist, has now beaten the U.S., Russia and Germany -- "probably the three weakest teams of the tournament," according to Svae. "We play Sweden tomorrow," he added. "Well get a first real test." The U.S. slipped behind 3-0 after the first end but responded with a deuce and then stole points in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th ends, keeping the Danes scoreless until the 9th. "Hopefully this turns the tables," Shuster said, "and we can get it rolling in the other direction." ' ' '