Southern Illinois Salukis guard Anthony Beane (25) puts up a shot. / Peter G. Aiken, USA TODAY Sports
The Southern Illinois' men's basketball team became stranded on Interstate 57 in Illinois on Sunday night because of a blinding snowstorm.
Salukis coach assistant coach Anthony Beane Sr., who was with the team traveling home from Normal, Ill., following SIU's 66-48 loss to Illinois State, told USA TODAY Sports the bus driver decided to pull over to wait out the harsh conditions when the team was 2 hours away from Carbondale, but the bus became stuck when they attempted to pull out after a short stall. I-57 was closed, but a state trooper assured the team a tow would come eventually.
"Half of them were watching a movie, and half were sleeping," Beane said.
A tow truck finally arrived to free the stranded team members 5 1/2 hours later, but they were forced to spend the night sleeping in a church in Tuscola, Ill., because the roads were still too unsafe to drive back to Carbondale and no hotels were available in the nearest towns.
Head coach Barry Hinson, who made national headlines earlier this season for a controversial news conference in which he called his players "momma's boys," was out recruiting and not on the bus. However, Hinson felt the wrath of the Midwest weather as well. He told USA TODAY Sports by phone on Sunday night that he was also stuck and faced a "long night ahead."
SIU athletic director Moccia told ESPN.com Sunday night: "They're warm. ...They've got enough gas and food on the bus. The worst-case scenario is they will be there until the highway opens."
Southern Illinois players offered comical reactions on social media chronicling the incident.
Scott Gleeson, a national college basketball writer/digital producer for USA TODAY Sports, is on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
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