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Late stumbles doom SIU men’s basketball against UNLV

Senior+guard+Mike+Rodriguez+recovers+from+a+fall+during+the+Salukis%27+70-55+win+against+Saint+Louis+University+on+Wednesday%2C+Dec.+14%2C+2016%2C+at+SIU+Arena.+%28Ryan+Michalesko+%7C+%40photosbylesko%29
Senior guard Mike Rodriguez recovers from a fall during the Salukis' 70-55 win against Saint Louis University on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, at SIU Arena. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Senior guard Mike Rodriguez recovers from a fall during the Salukis' 70-55 win against Saint Louis University on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, at SIU Arena. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

Senior guard Mike Rodriguez recovers from a fall during the Salukis' 70-55 win against Saint Louis University on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, at SIU Arena. (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

By Sean Carley

Despite tying the game at 61 with just more than a minute to go, Saluki men’s basketball was unable to close out what would have been a big road victory Monday night against UNLV in Vegas.

SIU’s final three possessions of the game after the tie were two turnovers by senior guard Leo Vincent and a missed layup by senior guard Mike Rodriguez.

The second half was one of multiple comebacks as SIU was able to recover from a seven-point halftime deficit to take as large as a five-point lead.

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But, the Runnin’ Rebels had a comeback of their own, utilizing an 18-6 run to reclaim the lead and eventually march on to victory.

UNLV took the lead back for good on a 3-pointer from senior forward Tyrell Green, who was a menace for the Salukis all night. He finished with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds.

The Rebels went into the game shorthanded as forwards Dwayne Morgan and Christian Jones were both held out with injuries. Saluki bigs were not able to take advantage as SIU’s forwards were held to 15 combined points on 35 percent shooting.

A majority of Green’s damage occurred in the first half as he was able to score 15 points to help the Rebels reach their halftime lead.

SIU held the lead for the first eight minutes of the game before a 9-2 run gave UNLV a lead it wouldn’t squander for the rest of the half.

Senior guard Mike Rodriguez and sophomore guard Armon Fletcher were the only Salukis to reach double figures, but both needed at least a dozen shots to do so.

SIU as a team shot 39.3 percent on the night, while UNLV was able to shoot 56.8 percent.

While the Saluki defense allowed more than half of the Rebels’ shots to go in, it was able to force 23 turnovers, which turned into 22 points for SIU.

SIU’s next matchup is against UT-Martin at 7 p.m. on Thursday at home.

Sports editor Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SeanMCarley.

To stay up to date with all your SIU basketball news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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