The Missouri St. Bears suffered a 66-64 loss to Southern Illinois in Carbondale Tuesday night. MSU led 64-63 with 18 seconds to go thanks to two free throws from Blake Ahearn. But SIU pushed the ball on the next possession to set up a dunk from Randal Falker to put the Salukis up 65-64. He was fouled on the play by Kellen Easley and made the free throw to make it 66-64.
The Bears had one last chance, but failed to get a shot off before the buzzer.
MSU trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, only to erase the deficit and take the lead. Last year, the Bears also lost in Carbondale, thanks to a late shot.
SIU’s leading scorer, and Jefferson City, Missouri native, Jamaal Tatum didn’t play because of the flu. In his absence guard Tony Young stepped up to lead four Salukis in double-figures with 17 points. Ahearn had 16 to lead MSU.
The Bears could have moved into a tie with SIU for fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference. Instead they dropped to 15-7 on the season and 8-6 in the Valley. The Salukis are now 17-7 and 10-4.
SIU is tied with Wichita St. for third in the conference, after the Shockers’ 68-56 loss to Northern Iowa. Creighton rallied to beat Evansville 60-56 to remain tied for first in MVC with UNI.