Salukis rally to force OT, take down SEMO in 87-79 win

By Ryan Scott, Staff Reporter

The SIU men’s basketball team won a season opener overtime thriller against the Southeast Missouri Redhawks at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Despite SEMO leading for the majority of the game and SIU’s head coach Bryan Mullins being sidelined due to a positive COVID-19 test last week, Southern was able to pull over the 87-79 win. 

The Salukis were trailing by two late in the second half, when senior forward Anthony D’Avanzo made two free throws during the double bonus that tied the game 71-71 and forced overtime. 


SIU started overtime on a 7-0 run, with free throws from sophomore guard Ben Harvey, and a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Trent Brown. 

Assistant coach Brendan Mullins stepped up to lead the Salukis while head coach Bryan Mullins remains isolated in accordance with health department guidelines. 

Sophomore forward Marcus Domask led the Salukis in scoring with 24 points, 11 of those from the free throw line. 

Harvey, who made his debut with the Salukis tonight after transferring from Eastern Illinois and sitting out last season, scored 22 points on 5-for-11 shooting with a 50% three-point average.

Both teams had multiple streaks and droughts throughout the game but the Salukis were able to capitalize on a 17-6 run during the last 5 minutes of regulation play, along with outscoring SEMO 16-8 in overtime. 

“I think we were able to make the late comeback because of how much we love and care for each other, our grit, and how much we want to win,” Harvey said.

Harvey scored Saluki’s first six points on two three-pointers. 


“I just came out with confidence, our whole team can shoot well. I just believed in my shot and was able to knock them down,” Harvey said. 

Brendan Mullins spoke on Harvey’s success throughout the game tonight and why he wasn’t surprised by his showing. 

“As far as confidence level, he has to be top three on our team. He works his butt off,” Mullins said. “His sit out year wasn’t a sit out year, it’s a year to get better and he did that, and most importantly he got better defensively.”

SEMO was able to control the game for almost all of the first half behind nine points and five rebounds from senior forward Nolan Taylor. 

With a little over seven minutes left in the first half, the Redhawks led 25-24 but the Salukis responded with a 9-0 run to cut that lead to just two. 

Both teams added six in the final four minutes of the half to keep it a two-point Redhawks lead. 

SIU’s only first half lead was at 7-6, and the team only led for 19 seconds. The Salukis shot 10-for-27 from the field in the first half, and 3-for-10 from the 3-point arch. 

At halftime, Southern trailed the Redhawks 31-29.

In the second half, the Salukis were able to get ahead  32-31 on a 3-pointer from D’Avanzo, but the lead would change between the two teams several times in the following minutes.

 An 11-2 Redhawk run increased the lead 65-54 with six minutes remaining. 

The Salukis responded with a 9-0 run led by Harvey and Domask to cut the deficit down to two with under three minutes left to play.

In the final 20 seconds of the game, D’Avanzo went one-for-two from the foul line to tie the game 69-69.

SEMO junior guard Chris Harris made a contested layup with four seconds left to take a 71-69 lead. 

Moments later D’avanzo was fouled by Harris on an inbounds pass and was sent to the charity stripe. The senior forward made both free throws to force overtime. 

Brendan Mullins said the play was supposed to go to Dalton Banks before the foul on the inbounds pass. 

The Salukis ended regulation on a 17-6 run. Harvey spoke on the momentum the run gave them entering overtime.

“We knew we won after that, and we knew we had the momentum swing to our side. We were all believing in what we could do and we were all hitting our shots to get to that point,” Harvey said. 

The game went to overtime tied at 71-71.

The Salukis started overtime on a 7-0 run, with a three-point basket by Brown, along with free throws from Harvey and a layup from Domask.

The Redhawks attempted to make a comeback but weren’t able to get any closer than five points after the opening SIU run. 

Harris, who scored 15 points for the Redhawks in regulation, fouled out 55 seconds into overtime. 

Domask went 11-for-12 from the free throw line, with seven of them in overtime helping put the Redhawks away. 

The Salukis will take the floor again on Dec. 6 at Banterra Center to face off against the Division II Quincy University Hawks. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.


Sports reporter Ryan Scott can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @RyanscottDE. 

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