LaRavia and Sycamores’ bench takes care of the Salukis

Salukis+guard+Lance+Jones+drives+hard+downtown+pass+a+Braves%E2%80%99+defender+during+the+59-64+loss+to+Bradley+during+Arch+Madness+on+Friday%2C+Mar.+6%2C+2020+at+the+Enterprise+Center+in+St.+Louis.++

Jared Treece | @Bisalo

Salukis guard Lance Jones drives hard downtown pass a Braves’ defender during the 59-64 loss to Bradley during Arch Madness on Friday, Mar. 6, 2020 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

Southern Illinois (7-5, 1-5 MVC) fell to Indiana State 71-59, dropping their fifth-straight game.

After zero bench points for Indiana State (8-7, 5-5 MVC) in the first game of the series, their bench contributed 23 points tonight.

Graduate transfer guard Randy Miller Jr. led the bench with 11 points and freshman guard Julian Larry added 10 points coming off the bench.

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“[You] knew Miller or Howard or someone was going to step up from the bench,” Saluki head coach Bryan Mullins said, “with Larry making a couple threes, [we] give them credit.”

The Sycamores bench combined for more points than their leading scorer sophomore forward Jake LaRavia who had 20 points.

Prior to the start of the game, freshman center Kyler Filewich was named a Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the week for SIU.

“Even before we played the game here Kyler is going to continue to get better,” Mullins said. “He’s only really been playing basketball full time for a year and a half now, I think his best basketball is ahead of him.”

It was the first time a true freshman center won the award for SIU since 2010, when Gene Teague won it.

Filewich contributed early for the Salukis, grabbing four rebounds to go along with four points helping push the Dawgs out to a 9-8 lead at the 15:34 mark.

Filewich finished one rebound short of a double-double pulling in nine rebounds to go along with 10 points.

“I need to be more physical on my seals, and demand the ball more,” Filewich said. “I feel like I was playing pretty well, I definitely need to be more assertive to get the ball.”

Off an assist from sophomore guard Ben Harvey, Filewich dunked it to give Southern a 29-27 lead with 1:20 left in the first half, which was the last lead the Salukis had.

The Sycamores were able to close the gap before the half ended and a basket by sophomore center Tre Williams gave them a 31-29 lead heading into the locker room.

The Salukis were able to keep the game within four seven minutes into the second half after one made free throw by Filewich.

It was a four minute scoring drought by SIU that was broken by one made free throw from senior guard Jakolby Long, which Indiana State took advantage of to push out to a 52-41 lead.

“They were playing good defense,” Filewich said. “Credit to them, they played really good tonight.”

After the free throw by Long, SIU added two more free throws, but their first field goal made in a eight minute stretch did not come until senior forward Anthony D’Avanzo made a jumper to pull the Salukis within 14.

“I think we took some rushed threes, we got the ball inside, they did a good job of digging it out of our post,” Mullins said.

Southern closed to within 10-points in the final two minutes after being down as many as 18, but the comeback came too late as they fell 71-59.

The Salukis will be back in action on Jan. 30 against Northern Iowa (4-10, 2-6 MVC) with tip off at 3 p.m. in Carbondale.

Sports Reporter Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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