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Daily Egyptian

Salukis lose a close one to Illinois State in final road game

Junior forward Sean O'Brien looks to make a pass during SIU’s 71-59 victory against Bradley on Feb. 17 at SIU Arena. O’Brien led the Salukis in scoring with 24 points in the game. 

Junior forward Sean O'Brien looks to make a pass during SIU’s 71-59 victory against Bradley on Feb. 17 at SIU Arena. O’Brien led the Salukis in scoring with 24 points in the game. 

By Jonathan Thompson

SIU men’s basketball lost it’s second game of the season to Illinois State on Wednesday, 50-46.

The RedBirds (24-5 ,16-1 Missouri Valley Conference) had a little bit more incentive coming into this game with tonight being their senior night.

The score was close until after a late game surge ISU pulled away.

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After trailing by two coming out of halftime, Southern went on runs of 5-0 and 10-0 to give them a 41-38 advantage with 6:37 remaining.

SIU didn’t get to celebrate for long as senior guard Paris Lee was fouled and made two free throws before his teammate senior guard Tony Wills made a jumpshot that sparked a 10-0 run for the Redbirds.

That propelled ISU ahead 48-41 with 3:23 remaining. Then came a game clinching run as Illinois Sate held on to win 50-46.

Wills had 16 points, five rebounds and five steals while Lee tallied 10 points, three rebounds and three assists.

The first half was just as competitive as the teams traded baskets until a jumpshot by senior forward Deontae Hawkins gave ISU a 18-12 lead.

Then the Salukis (15-15, 8-9 MVC) played some of their best defense of the season by not allowing the Redbirds to score for the next six minutes.

The Dawgs also went on a 8-0 run to put them ahead 20-18 .

ISU quickly scored two unanswered baskets to put them back on top 24-20.

The RedBirds maintained the lead for the remaining time in the half — leading 27-25 at halftime.

Junior forward Thik Bol and senior forward Sean O’Brien led the way for the Salukis.

Bol had 12 points and seven rebounds while O’Brien tallied 11 points and seven rebounds.

The Salukis play their last game of the season before the conference tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday against Loyola at SIU Arena. It will also be SIU’s senior night.

Staff writer Jonathan Thompson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @TheReal_Jt3.

To stay up to date with all your SIU basketball news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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