The Sycamores improved to 20-6, 11-3 MVC while the Salukis fell to 10-17, 6-8 MVC. Indiana State has reached 20 victories for the season in the second fastest time in school history behind the 1978-79 team which reached the milestone 10 days earlier on February 5. Additionally, seniors Odum and Lucas Eitel moved into sole possession of sixth place in Sycamore history with 76 career victories. The Sycamores' 11 Missouri Valley Conference victories are tied for the fifth-most in a single-season.
Odum paced the team with 15 points and went 6-of-7 from the free throw line. He now has 542 career made free throws which ties the school record also held by Larry Bird. He added five rebounds. Khristian Smith tallied 10 points and seven rebounds in the contest.
Indiana State was limited to just 33.3 percent shooting in the first half and trailed the Salukis 27-24 at the break. The Sycamore defense gave up just a 34.8 percent shooting mark to SIU before halftime. In the second half, Indiana State hit 13-of-27 shots (48.1 percent) and finished with a 41.2 percent shooting ledger for the game.
The Sycamores owned a 28-16 edge in the paint as well as 14-9 cushion in point in the paint. While SIU won the battle of the offensive boards 15-11, it was the Sycamores who took a 20-13 advantage in second chance points.
Southern Illinois led 44-37 with 12:51 to go and Indiana State called a timeout to regroup. The tide turned on an offensive rebound and put-back dunk from Khristian Smith to cut the lead down to 44-38. Cummings then followed with a dunk of his own after a Desmar Jackson turnover to get within 44-41. Odum was fouled driving to the basket one minute later and hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it 44-42 in favor the Salukis.
A conventional 3-point play by Odum at the 9:48 mark pushed the Sycamores ahead 45-44 and they tacked on another conventional 3-point play by Kitchell with nine minutes to go off a nifty assist from Odum and the Sycamores put together a 12-0 run to go ahead 48-44.
After Bronson Verhines hit 1-of-2 free throws, Odum hit a lay-up but Anthony Beane connected on a triple with 6:58 remaining to cut the Sycamore cushion down to 50-48. Odum hit a pair of free throws with 6:04 to go to push the lead out to 52-48 and Beane countered with a field goal of his own as Indiana State led 52-50 with just over five minutes on the clock.
Odum was left open for a 3-pointer which he drained with 3:54 remaining to stretch the lead out to 55-50. A free throw by Devonte Brown gave the Sycamores a 58-52 cushion with just under three minutes on the clock. Two Khristian Smith charity tosses with 1:49 remaining gave the Sycamores a 60-55 lead before Verhines hit a short corner jumper with 51 seconds on the clock and the Indiana State advantage was 60-57.
Following a Sycamore timeout, Cummings jumper was off the mark and both Jackson and Beane had contested looks from 3-point range which were off the mark as time expired and the Sycamores defeated the Salukis.
Dawon Cummings gave the Sycamores an early 3-0 advantage with a 3-pointer on Indiana State's first possession, which Southern Illinois' Anthony Beane quickly equalized with a trey of his own. The Sycamores would counter with the next five points for an 8-3 lead just under four minutes in on a trifecta from Arop as well as a Kitchell lay-up.
The game would be tied four different times before a jumper from Sean O'Brien gave the Salukis a 22-19 edge at the 3:42 mark. Justin Gant hit a free throw with 2:02 on the clock to get ISU within 22-20 and Arop's second-chance lay-up at the 1:15 mark cut the SIU lead down to 23-22. A pair of Odum free throws with 53 seconds left before halftime trimmed the SIU advantage down to 25-24 before a Desmar Jackson dunk with 36 seconds remaining gave the Salukis a 27-24 lead at half.
The Sycamores punched quickly out of the half on a dunk from Smith as well as a lay-up by Odum as the Sycamores regained a 28-27 advantage. The Salukis would go up four points on two seperate occassions including a jumper from Beane at the 16:05 mark which staked the Salukis to a 36-32 lead.
Devonte Brown's 3-pointer with 15:30 on the clock got the Sycamores within 36-35 and a Gant lay-up pushed the Sycamores ahead 37-36 on the next possession. Southern Illinois then scored the game's next eight points to set up Indiana State's dramatic rally. The run was capped by a lay-up and steal from Desmar Jackson and SIU owned a 44-37 lead with 12:51 to go in the game.
Jackson posted 19 points and Beane tallied 18 to pace Southern Illinois.
The Sycamores will once again play inside Hulman Center on Wednesday, February 19 as they host Evansville at 7:05 p.m. (ET). The game will be nationally televised by ESPN3 on the MVC Television Network.
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