Salukis Run Away From Sycamores

Published 01/30 2014 12:48AM

Updated 01/30 2014 12:54AM

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Justin Gant paced a trio of Sycamores who reached double figures scoring but it was the Salukis who earned a 79-60 Missouri Valley Conference victory over Indiana State in front of 4,821 fans inside SIU Arena.

The Sycamores fell to 16-5, 7-2 MVC while Southern Illinois improved to 7-15, 3-6 MVC.

Gant led the team with 14 points as he connected on a pair of 3-pointers. Manny Arop tallied 12 points to go with five rebounds while Jake Odum posted 11 points and seven rebounds.

Indiana State was 21-of-53 from the field (39.6 percent) and totaled seven 3-pointers in the contest. SIU went 26-of-50 from the field (52 percent) and held a 42-29 edge in rebounding.

Manny Arop and Dawon Cummings scored on the Sycamores first two trips down the floor for a quick 5-0 lead. The Sycamore defense, which was stingy in the first half, did not allow a Saluki field goal for over the first three minutes of action but would go over six minutes scoreless themselves until Gant recorded consecutive buckets around the 12 minute mark but still trailed 10-9.

An Arop lay-up with 3:06 on the clock would be the final field goal of the opening stanza for the Sycamores which got the Sycamores within 21-16. SIU scored the final four points of the first half as they took a 25-16 lead into the locker room. The Sycamores were led in scoring over the first half by Gant with six points.

Justin Gant scored the first points of the second half for the Sycamores but it came after Southern Illinois scored the first nine and it pulled Indiana State within 34-19 with 17:09 on the clock.

Lucas Eitel connected on his first 3-pointer of the game and Khristian Smith followed with a second-chance bucket around the 13 minute mark to draw within 41-26. The Sycamores hit a trio of free throws in a row to trim the SIU cushion down to 43-29 with just under 10 minutes remaining.

A 3-pointer from Gant with just over seven minutes remaining cut the Saluki lead down to 54-33. After a defensive stop, Arop connected on a triple of his own just 30 seconds later to get within 54-36 of the Salukis. At the 5:20 mark, Eitel hit a 3-pointer which further chewed into the Saluki advantage at 59-42.

Anthony Beane posted 22 points to lead the Salukis.

Indana State stays on the road when they travel to Northern Iowa on Saturday, February 1. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. (ET) and will be televised world-wide on ESPN3.

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