Men’s Basketball hitting stride with close road win over Missouri State


Lylee Gibbs

Clarence Rupert (4) knocks Ja’Kobi Gillespie (12) over his shoulder on his approach to the basket against the Belmont University Bruins Jan. 1, 2023 at the Banterra Center in Carbondale, Ill.

A narrow win against Missouri State (10-10, 6-4 MVC) for the Saluki Men’s Basketball team Saturday afternoon, 61-57, helped move the Dawgs to their 16th win of the season. The win helped SIU match their win total from last season as well as put them one win away from their conference win total from last season.

It was a combined effort from the seniors that helped edge the Salukis forward in this one. Four different starters earned double-digit point totals. Lance Jones led with 11, while Marcus Domask, Xavier Johnson, and Jawaun Newton weren’t far behind with 10 each. The dawgs were hot with their 45.1% shooting percentage, making 23/51 of their shots on the night.

Newton’s layup in the paint helped open the scoring on the night to help the Dawgs get out to a 13-5 lead quickly. A dunk by the Bears jump-started their offensive attack, and they cut the deficit to just one at 17-16 just a few minutes later. The teams traded three-pointers for a while before JD Muila and Jones helped end the streak to finish the half up by five at 30-25 for a dawgs lead.


A back-and-forth start to the second was cut down to a one-point lead for the dawgs after another dunk for the Bears. However, a 10-3 stretch for the Salukis got them back up by eight once more with 12 to go. 

The Bears trying once more to get back into it, cut it to a three-point deficit after a three-pointer. Two threes in a row by Jones earned the Salukis their largest lead of the day at 11 with just under 6 to go. A nervous stretch began for the Salukis as Missouri State earned 7 quick points to cut it to a two-point lead with 42 seconds left. But a timeout called by the Salukis helped SIU plan the sealing shot for Xavier Johnson to tie a bow on the win for in this one, as the Salukis win their fourth in a row.

The Dawgs will look to make it five in a row with a trip back to the Banterra Center on Tuesday for a matchup with new conference rival Murray State (11-9, 6-4 MVC). That game will start with a 7 pm tip-off time.

Sports editor Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Jojobernard2001. 

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