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

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Salukis drop overtime game on the road against Drake

Lylee Gibbs | @lyleegibbsphoto
Scottie Ebube (2) shoots a free throw after a foul on Drake Jan. 13, 2024 at Banterra Center in Carbondale, Illinois.

In another heated overtime game, the Salukis just fell short of completing a potential comeback win against Drake, unable to redeem their January home loss and keep their two-game road win streak alive.

The Salukis (15-9, 7-6) fell short of the Drake Bulldogs (19-5, 10-3), 92-88 Wednesday night at Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa. SIU put up a great battle with guard Xavier Johnson scoring 35 points along with five assists and three steals.

“[It was] a back and forth game, showed a lot of toughness,” Saluki head coach Bryan Mullins said. “Put ourselves in a position to win and just fell a little bit short.”


The loss is Southern’s second overtime defeat in eight days, following a home loss against Missouri State on Jan. 31 that required the extra period. It was also the seventh straight Saluki game to come down to a margin of six or fewer points; SIU is 3-4 during that span.

The Bulldogs came in with a 17-game winning streak at home, but that didn’t stop the Salukis from playing well. Despite losing by double-digits in their first meeting, the Salukis went blow-for-blow against Drake, with SIU getting a three-point lead in the last few minutes of the first half before the Bulldogs came back and ended the half with a 38-37 advantage.

“There was a lot of different runs, the game was kind of choppy, a lot of things didn’t go our way but they kept fighting,” Mullins said. “We got to continue to have that kind of attitude and togetherness as we move forward.”

The second half had both teams playing aggressively until the very end, as it came down to the final minute tied 80-80. After his team came back from a lead as big as eight points late, Johnson gave SIU a lead with 36 seconds left before reigning MVC Player of the Year Tucker DeVries tied it for Drake with just 19 seconds to go. Johnson missed the final shot attempt to send the game to overtime.

As the final period wound down, the Salukis trailed by two when Scottie Ebube forced a DeVries turnover with just 13 seconds left in overtime. However, SIU could not get a proper possession in, as Johnson struggled to maintain control of the ball. A loose ball granted the Salukis one more chance with just over a second to go, but a five-second violation ended any chance SIU had to win the game.

“X battled, we ask him to do a lot and we obviously wouldn’t be in that position without him,” Mullins said. “We trust him with the ball and he’s made big plays for us all season so we’ll continue to put him in positions where he’ll be successful.

Southern will take on Illinois State Redbirds (11-13, 5-8) in their next game at the Banterra Center on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 6:00 pm.


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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