Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Jarrett Hensley (32) claps in celebration as the clock runs out to give SIU the win over Murray State Feb. 21, 2024 at Banterra Center in Carbondale, Illinois.
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Salukis end three-game losing streak with win over Valpo

Trent+Brown+%2824%29+dives+for+the+ball+after+getting+caught+up+with+Jahari+Williamson+%287%29+of+Valparaiso+Jan.+24%2C+2024+at+Banterra+Center+in+Carbondale%2C+Illinois.
Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto
Trent Brown (24) dives for the ball after getting caught up with Jahari Williamson (7) of Valparaiso Jan. 24, 2024 at Banterra Center in Carbondale, Illinois.
Xavier Johnson (10) shoots for three as Sherman Weatherspoon IV (5) of Valparaiso attempts to block Jan. 24, 2024 at Banterra Center in Carbondale, Illinois (Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto)

Xavier Johnson put up 25 points during the second half of SIU’s comeback against Valparaiso, winning 75-69 on Wednesday night at Banterra Center.

A great response coming in the second half,” Saluki head coach Bryan Mullins said. “The guys played with great energy, great togetherness there that first ten minutes of the second half, and that allowed us to get a lead and keep that lead throughout the whole second half.”

After trailing 34-29 at halftime, the Salukis went on a 23-5 run to begin the second half.

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“We knew we had to bring some energy and it was gonna start on defense,” Johnson said. “So we just came out there, trying to get up under guys, trying to make it difficult for them, and our defense led into our offense.”

Johnson shot 6-for-8 in the second half after a slow start, finishing with 27 points overall. Teammate Troy D’Amico hit three three-pointers to help put the Salukis up.

“Talk about another guy who puts in the work,” senior Trent Brown said of D’Amico. “It’s just a common theme, and that’s what we hang our hat on at the end of the day, is just we think we put in the most work.

The Salukis struggled in the first half, particularly from three-point range. Their 3-for-14 mark dragged down the offense and created a deficit the Dawgs would need to climb back from.

Brown finished with 14 points despite struggling from the three-point line (1-for-8). Clarence Rupert provided a dominant presence down low with eight points and eight rebounds on the night.

Having lost three straight games, the win gives the Salukis their first victory in two weeks.

“We just had to get back on track,” Johnson said. “That’s what we did here tonight. It wasn’t easy, but we just had a willingness and a fight in us to get back on track and do what we wanted to do, and just keep getting better.”

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Southern will look to continue its positive momentum into the next game, when it travels to play Murray State on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“Any road game, any home game, any game is an extreme test,” Mullins said. “You’ve got to be ready to play, and you’ve got to be able to play well.”

To stay up to date on all your southern Illinois news, be sure to follow The Daily Egyptian on Facebook and @dailyegyptian on X [formerly known as Twitter].

Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected]. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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