Missouri State improved to 6-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference on Wednesday with a 64-51 home win over Southern Illinois before 8,112 fans at JQH Arena. The win was the MSU’s eighth straight. The Bears also extended their home winning streak to 18 games, their longest stretch since 1970.
Cuonzo Martin’s Bears (14-3) were led by Adam Leonard who finished with 15 points, while Kyle Weems and Will Creekmore scored 13 apiece, and Caleb Patterson scored 10 off the bench.
MSU jumped out to an 11-point lead at the break and built the lead to 14 just over two minutes into the second half. The Salukis (9-8, 3-3) went on a 12-3 run and closed the gap even more when Carlton Fay, who scored 13 for Southern Illinois, hit a three-pointer two minutes later to make it a 45-41 game.
However, Missouri State held SIU to just two field goals over the next 10 minutes and extended its advantage to 14 again on a jumper by Kyle Weems with 50 seconds to go.
MSU will now gear up for a two-game road swing through the league, including Sunday’s nationally-televised game (ESPNU) at Bradley (6-11, 0-6) at 7 p.m. and a trip to Indiana State next Wednesday (Jan. 19, 6:05 p.m.). The Bears return home to play Creighton on Jan. 22 at 4:05 p.m. in a game to be telecast on ESPN2.