Salukis defeat Indiana State in overtime thriller
After a lopsided start, SIU men’s basketball battled back to beat Indiana State 80-74 in overtime Wednesday at home.
The teams traded baskets and leads throughout the extra time, neither being able to gain an edge at first.
After a blocked shot by SIU junior forward Thik Bol, senior guard Mike Rodriguez hit a deep 3-pointer to take the lead with 41 seconds left on the clock.
Sycamore junior guard Brenton Scott then turned the ball over, leading SIU to shoot free throws and extend their lead to 76-71 with 25 seconds left to play.
But Indiana State was not finished. An inbounds play by senior forward Matt Van Scyoc led to a 3-pointer and kept Indiana within reach with 20 seconds left on the clock.
Indiana State was forced to foul Rodriguez, who later hit two more free throws, giving SIU a four-point advantage.
Rodriguez was a non-factor for the Salukis in the first half but would finish with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
The Sycamores went back to Van Scyoc for another 3-pointer, but this time he missed.
Saluki freshmen guard Aaron Cook came down with the rebound and was fouled. Cook hit two free throws to secure the victory.
Indiana State went on an 11-0 run to start the game. If not for Saluki senior forward Sean O’Brien, the matchup would have been over in the first half. O’Brien had 10 of SIU’s 29 points in the first and grabbed eight rebounds.
O’Brien continued that dominance and posted a career-high 28 points. He ended the game with 14 rebounds, two steals and an assist.
Thanks to O’Brien, the Salukis were only behind 36-29 going into the half.
SIU came into the second half on a mission, going on an 11-4 run to tie the game at 40 with 16:03 left to play.
After consecutive baskets by O’Brien and sophomore guard Sean Lloyd, SIU had its first lead of the game, 45-40.
But the Salukis couldn’t hold the lead for long as Indiana sophomore forward Emondre Rickman tied the game at 52 with 6:59 left to play.
SIU would again extend its lead to five but was not able to hold it when Scott made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 63 with 1:39 left to play.
Senior guard Leo Vincent would lay it in to put the Salukis back on top 65-63, but Sycamores senior guard Everett Clemons put back a missed shot that tied the game at 65 and sent it into overtime.
Scott would lead Indiana State in points with 15. He also added five rebounds.
With a near triple-double, Clemons stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
SIU plays its next game at 3 p.m. Saturday against Missouri State in Missouri.