While Southern Illinois didn’t join the list of teams who have seen their schedules change this weekend due to the inclement weather hitting the northeast and midwest, the Salukis weren’t as fortunate when it came to their trek back to Carbondale, Ill. following their 66-48 loss at Illinois State.
Due to heavy snow the team bus was stranded on Interstate 57, and according to a report from Andy Katz of ESPN.com Sunday evening there was concern that the team would have to spend the night on the bus. However according to Todd Hefferman of the Carbondale (Ill.) Southern, there was a chance that would not be the case.
Towing is not allowed, according to the notice, although SIU is awaiting a tow truck. If one can not reach the bus, or be called because of the policy, [SIU assistant Anthony] Beane [Sr.] said the Illinois State Police has agreed to help the team reach its hotel in the Tuscola area.
The news got better for the Salukis later Sunday night, as according to the Daily Egyptian a tow truck finally showed up some five hours after the whole ordeal began. The company told the newspaper that their assignments were backed up nearly four hours due to the weather.
Beane was the lone coach on the bus with the players, with head coach Barry Hinson and assistants Terrance McGee and Tom Hankins leaving after the game to go recruiting. Hinson’s staying in his car overnight according to the report from the Daily Egyptian, while McGee and Hankins found a hotel room for the night. The team wasn’t quite as lucky. They ended up sleeping on the floor of a church in Tuscola, IL.
SIU athletic director Mario Moccia gave Katz the following description of the events that led to the bus being stranded:
Moccia said the driver pulled off the side of the road and hoped to get a window where he could continue driving. But when the highway cleared a bit the bus was stuck. Attempts were made to get a tow, but I-57 was closed.
SIU head manager Mark Morrissey tweeted a picture of the stranded bus.
With brutally cold temperatures expected in the area, it’s good to hear that the team is on its way to a hotel in Tuscola. According to the Daily Egyptian, the athletic department hopes to get the players back to Carbondale on Monday.