Second half dooms Bears in loss at Southern Illinois

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A decisive 18-2 run over a seven-minute stretch in the second half propelled home-standing Southern Illinois to a 73-53 win over visiting Missouri State here Sunday in Missouri Valley Conference play.

Lance Jones (18) and Troy D’Amico (15) led SIU (18-7, 10-4 MVC) in scoring, which racked up a dozen steals and knocked down nine 3-pointers.

The Bears (12-12, 8-6) got 14 points apiece from Chance Moore and Alston Mason.

MoState cut a double-figure SIU lead to four points with 10:37 left in the game to put itself in a position down the stretch. A runner by Damien Mayo Jr. followed a triple by Mason to make it a 50-46 game. But the Salukis responded with the decisive stretch over the next seven minutes, collecting triples by Jones and Xavier Johnson to trigger the outburst.

A quick put-back by Jonathan Mogbo at the 8:57 mark gave the visitors a needed bucket, but SIU responded with 12 unanswered points from there, ending the decisive run on a layup by Clarence Rupert before N.J. Benson’s three-point play for MSU with 3:34 to go ended the drought.

Missouri State finished the game 20-of-42 (.476) from the field, 5-of-11 (.455) from long distance and 8-of-16 (.500) at the foul line with 16 turnovers.

SIU finished 26-of-57 (.456) overall from the field, 9-of-32 (.281) from long range and 12-of-13 (.923) at the line with a 29-26 rebounding advantage. SIU scored 26 points off turnovers and posted 10 second-chance points off its 12 offensive boards.

In the first half, Missouri State shot 59.1 percent from the field but turned the ball over 10 times – leading to 11 Saluki points – to trail 36-32 at the midway point. SIU used backup D’Amico to gain separation midway through the half, turning a six-point Bears lead into a seven-point SIU advantage with D’Amico scoring 12 points during an 18-5 run by the home club.

Missouri State tied it up twice before the intermission, first on a pair of free throws by Chance Moore and later on a jumper by Mason that made it 32-32 with 98 seconds before the break. But SIU managed to score twice more before the break, riding the momentum of its seven steals into a four-point halftime lead.

Missouri State returns to Great Southern Bank Arena on Wednesday for a rare 6 p.m. home showdown against the Valley newcomers.

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