In a physical rivalry game that included 42 fouls, Southern Illinois (18-3, 7-1 MVC) took control early and cruised to an 80-65 win over Missouri State.
SIU was led by Bola Olaniyan who posted 17 points on 7-of-9 from the field, while Mike Rodriguez and Tyler Smithpeters added 13 points apiece for the Salukis who won their fourth straight Missouri Valley Conference game.
The Bears (8-12, 4-4) were led by Dequon Miller’s 22 points, while freshman Ryan Kreklow tossed in 14 points, and classmate Jarred Dixon added 10.
SIU shot 60 percent from the field in the first half and knocked down six 3-pointers to lead by as many as 18 in the first period. Smithpeters was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc at the onset, including a 4-point play that broke up an early 7-7 tie and set the pace for the remainder of the half.
The Bears, who shot 47 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, countered with two late 3-pointers before the intermission by Miller and Kreklow to go into the break trailing 45-31.
But SIU picked up where it left off to start the second stanza as Olaniyan scored four of the Salukis’ first six field goals to start the period and pushed the visitors’ advantage to 23 with 10:33 to go.
Missouri State then held SIU without a field goal for the next four-and-a-half minutes while mounting a 12-3 run. A traditional 3-point play by Miller with just under seven minutes to play got the Bears back within 65-51 to cap the MSU outburst.
Southern eventually regained a 23-point advantage with 3:04 to go, matching its largest lead of the afternoon, before the home side finished the game on a 9-1 run to bring the final margin to 15.
SIU finished with just one more field goal than Missouri State, but fired at a 47.5-percent clip for the game on 28-of-59 shots. The Salukis converted 7-of-18 (.389) from beyond the arc and made 70.8 percent of their 24 foul shots. Six different players contributed to SIU’s 9 steals.
Missouri State was out-rebounded by a 38-34 margin and managed 10 offensive boards in the second half that helped the Bears convert 11 second-chance points. MSU finished 27-of-61 (.443) overall from the field, 5-of-19 (.263) from long range and 6-of-14 (.429) at the stripe with 15 turnovers.
Miller was 8-for-16 from the field for the Bears as part of his game-high point total with a pair of 3-pointers. Obediah Church was also effective for the home side, firing home 4-for-5 shooting with a pair of dunks and team highs 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Bears return to the road Wednesday for a 6 p.m. (Central) game at Indiana State before hosting Illinois State on Saturday at 3:05 p.m.
Story courtesy-MSU Athletics