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SIU team spends night in church after storm

Southern Illinois' Marcus Fillyaw (12) brings ball up court during second period Missouri Valley Conference NCAA basketball game against WichitState

Southern Illinois' Marcus Fillyaw (12) brings the ball up the court during the second period of a Missouri Valley Conference NCAA basketball game against Wichita State at the SIU Arena in Carbondale, Ill., Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Stephen Lance Dennee)

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Updated: January 6, 2014 11:42AM

TUSCOLA — Southern Illinois’ men’s basketball team is heading back to campus after spending the night on the floor of a central Illinois church.

The Salukis were on their way home to Carbondale after Sunday’s 66-48 loss at Illinois State when their bus got stuck in snowdrifts on Interstate 57.

A tow truck pulled the bus from the side the road around midnight — hours after they first ended up on the side of the road — and the roughly two dozen players and staff members spent the night sleeping in a Tuscola church.

Tom Weber, the school’s assistant athletics director for media services, said players began traveling again around 6:30 a.m. Monday after stocking up on food. But heavy snow in central Illinois meant the bus was only traveling about 15 mph. Several hours into the trip, they’d only made it as far as Effingham, about 50 miles south.

“The roads are very, very bad,” he said. “They haven’t made a lot of progress.”

Weber said he wasn’t sure when the team would arrive back at Southern Illinois. Their next game is Wednesday in Chicago.

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