SIU falls at UNI

By Gus Bode

Chris Lowery told everyone about this in advance.

Before the heartbreaker at Wichita State, before the embarrassing outing at Southwest Missouri State and even before SIU began its road swing, he said it would be the toughest part of the schedule.

SIU (17-6, 8-3 Missouri Valley) fell 67-61 at Northern Iowa Saturday, its third loss in its last four games away from the SIU Arena.


SIU trailed by just two, 63-61, with 25 seconds remaining but was unable to convert on its final three shots.

Randal Falker hauled in an errant three-pointer from Tony Young but had his put back blocked by Grant Stout.

A missed three-pointer from Darren Brooks and four free throws from Stout and Ben Jacobsen clinched the Northern Iowa victory and dropped the Salukis a game and a half back of first-place Wichita State.

Northern Iowa (16-7, 7-5) outrebounded SIU 42-31, snatching 14 boards off the offensive glass, which Lowery said was the difference in the game.

Stout had a game-high 11 rebounds, while Josh Warren and Matt Shaw had 10 rebounds between them. Shaw did score 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

“It’s a situation where if Stetson [Hairston] and Darren don’t get clutch rebounds, we don’t get them,” Lowery said in a press release. “To continue to be successful, our big guys have to step up and rebound.”

Brooks led the Salukis with 14 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Hairston added 13 points and shot 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.


Brooks, though, struggled from the field, sinking just five of 17 shots. He and backcourt mate Jamaal Tatum went 6-for-27 from the field. For the game, the Salukis shot 37.1 percent.

SIU took its first lead, 44-43, on a LaMar Owen jumper with 14 minutes, 49 seconds left in the second half.

Erik Crawford responded with a 5-0 run of his own, scoring on a breakaway lay up and a three-pointer. Crawford finished with 16 points. Jacobsen scored a game-high 18.

SIU tied the game at 48-48 and then 51-51 on a jumper from Hairston and a trey from Tatum, his only field goal of the game.

On the ensuing play, the Salukis failed to corral an Eric Coleman air ball that was batted around before bouncing out of bounds and back to the Panthers. Brooks McKowen then sank a pair of free throws, putting the Panthers up for good.

“I thought we had a chance to win the ballgame,” Lowery said. “But we have to do the small things.”

It could be safe to say Lowery will make sure his team is doing those small things tonight at Drake, the last of three straight road opponents.

Drake (8-12, 4-8) also concludes a stretch that saw the Salukis play five of six games on the road. SIU is 2-5 in that span.

SIU defeated Drake 51-45 in the first meeting this season, led by Brooks’ game-high 12 points. It was the 11th straight victory over the Bulldogs for SIU.

Drake is coming off an overtime victory against Bradley, which saw the Bulldogs erase a 19-point deficit in the final minutes of regulation.

Reporter Drew Stevens can be reached at [email protected]