The Salukis couldn’t overcome an early deficit against Missouri State and former Saluki assistant coach Paul Lusk in his first meeting against his alma mater as head coach of the Bears.
SIU (5-11, 2-3 Missouri Valley Conference) lost 77-65 Tuesday to Missouri State (11-6, 4-1 MVC) at the JQH Arena in Springfield, Mo. SIU committed 21 turnovers in the loss.
The Salukis fell behind 24-9 after Missouri State guard Jarmar Gulley hit a jumper at the 9:03 mark in the first half. Gulley finished the night with a game-high 18 points.
SIU continued to fall behind and trailed by as much as 19 points with 3:43 left in the first half, but an 11-2 run in the beginning of the second brought the Salukis to within two points of Missouri State. Then Missouri State answered with an 8-0 run of their own to make the score 52-42 at the 13:18 mark in the second half.
The Salukis brought the lead down to six with 5:05 left, but couldn’t draw any closer against last year’s regular season MVC champion.
Reigning MVC Player of the Year Kyle Weems tallied 16 points for Missouri State while grabbing six rebounds before fouling out with 1:24 left in the game.
Junior guard Kendal Brown-Surles led the scoring for SIU with 14 points, and senior forward Mamadou Seck chipped in 12 points and six rebounds before fouling out with :58 left in the game.
The win for Missouri State was their fifth straight against the Salukis, including last year’s second round MVC tournament game that Missouri State won 58-56 on a last-second layup from Weems.
SIU’s next game will be against Indiana State (11-6, 2-3 MVC) Friday at 7:05 p.m. at the SIU Arena.