“What a great experience. I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful the people of Cuba have been…It was important for me to explain to them how much we appreciate them and how much we appreciate the hospitality that we’ve received.” – SIU head coach Barry Hinson spoke to the Cuban National Team through a translator.
SALUKIS IN CUBA: DAY 3
The Southern Illinois men’s basketball team spent August 5-11 in Cuba as part of a cultural exchange that included three games against the Cuban National Team. All week, we will be providing a recap of the team’s trip on SIUSalukis.com.
Day 1: Salukis beat Cuban National Team, visit cigar store, facts about Cuba
Day 2: Salsa dancing, tour of Old Havana, game 2 vs. Cuba
After splitting the first two games, SIU and Cuba faced off in the rubber game of the three-game series on Wednesday morning. Much like the first game, SIU jumped out to an early lead, and Cuba stormed back in the second half to take the lead. This time, Cuba held on for a 79-78 win, the exact same score as SIU’s win in Game 1, which was the first time an NCAA men’s team had defeated the Cuban National Team. Armon Fletcher led SIU with 16 points, and Kavion Pippen has 11 points.
“We were very impressed. They are a very talented team,” Cuban National Team head coach Daniel Scott said through a translator. “Also, they have a great tactical discipline. Of the three college teams we have played, this was the best.”
“We played much better today,” SIU head coach Barry Hinson said. “We competed our rear ends off but ran out of gas at the end. What a great experience. I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful the people of Cuba have been. It’s been a great trip and a great bonding experience for our team. We got a lot done on this trip. I’m really excited.”
After the game, both teams came together for a group photo, and SIU head coach Barry Hinson spoke to the Cuban National Team through a translator.
“It was important for me to explain to them how much we appreciate them and how much we appreciate the hospitality that we’ve received,” Hinson said. “We had zero character issues one either side of the floor. That’s a compliment to the people of Cuba, to the players, and to their coaching staff. They were outstanding.”
Check back to SIUSalukis.com one more update from Cuba, a trip to Varadero.