Bocot’s spark off the bench lifts Salukis over Bradley

The Salukis returned home and toppled Missouri Valley Conference foe Bradley just three days after the worst loss in school history.

“We sat down and just put everything on the table. We just can’t have a showing like we did against Wichita (State),” senior guard Justin Bocot said. “Whatever everybody’s issues was, we just brought it out, we just got to the bottom of it. Today it seemed like everybody was on the same page.”

SIU (7-14, 4-6 MVC) beat Bradley (6-16, 1-9 MVC) Tuesday  77-60 at the SIU Arena. Senior guard Justin Bocot came off the bench and helped key a 13-4 run that put the Salukis up 35-21 with 3 minutes and 13 seconds left in the first half.

“I’m happy for him. He came in and really guarded well and did all of the other stuff that we need him to do, too,” coach Chris Lowery said.

Sophomore guard Diamond Taylor attempts to shoot a two-pointer Tuesday at Saluki Stadium. According to the athletic website, Taylor averages 5.2 points per game. — Pat Sutphin | Daily Egyptian

Bocot entered the game for the first time with 6 minutes and one second left in the first half and with SIU only up 21-17. He immediately connected on his first three shots from beyond the arc, and the Salukis never led by less than 10 points the rest of the way.

“I just came in and just tried to bring energy into the ballclub,” Bocot said. “When you hit a couple shots, the defense gets rolling as well.”

Bocot finished the night with 11 points.

Senior forward Mamadou Seck had 13 of his 15 points in the second half to help the Salukis stay ahead in the second half. Seck was one rebound short of a double-double.

“He was rushing. He had three turnovers in the first half right away and he was on his way towards having another bad game,” Lowery said. “He’s really trying to play with the weight of the world, it seems, and he really calmed down in the second half.”

Freshman forward Dantiel Daniels had his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“I’m just happy my teammates and my coach believe in my ability to finish around the rim,” Daniels said. “Coach said it’s a lot of pressure, but he wouldn’t put the pressure on me if he didn’t think I would be able handle it.”

Bradley forward Taylor Brown led all scorers with 21 points on 8-14 from the field, but as a whole the Braves shot 36.4 percent. The Salukis shot 59.6 percent on 28-47 shooting.

SIU travels to Bloomington Saturday to take on Illinois State at 3:05 p.m.

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