Rodriguez’s big second half propels Salukis to victory over Aces


Senior guard Mike Rodriguez attempts a basket during SIU’s 78-70 victory against UT-Martin on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, at SIU Arena. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

By Jonathan Thompson

Thanks to some hot shooting by senior guard Mike Rodriguez, the SIU men’s basketball team defeated Evansville Aces 73-61 Saturday in Evansville.

Rodriguez had 19 of his 20 points in the second half to give the Salukis the boost they needed to pull off the win.

However, the first half didn’t look as good for the Dawgs. After tying the game at 6 points, the Aces went on 7-0 run that put them up 13-6 with 3:28 in the half.


Late in the quarter a made layup by sophomore guard Ryan Taylor that put Evansville up 23-15.

Taylor and Aces senior guard Jaylon Brown both had 19 points for Evansville.

The Salukis held them at 23 for two minutes while going on an 11-0 run to put them up 26-23 with 3:16 left in the first half.

The teams traded leads twice more before sophomore guard Sean Lloyd’s and-one gave SIU a 33-31 halftime lead.

SIU opened the second half with two free throws by senior forward Sean O’Brien — his first points of the game — to extend the Salukis 34-31.

A few plays later, with 19:09 on the clock, sophomore guard Armon Fletcher and Rodriguez hit back-to-back 3-pointers opening up the Saluki lead to 41-34.

After both teams traded baskets, the Aces went on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 43 with 12:54 left to play.


SIU responded quickly with a dunk by junior forward Thik Bol to retake the lead.

Bol had 12 points and six rebounds.

The Aces countered by making a freethrow followed by a 3-pointer by freshman guard Dru Smith to give them a 47-45 advantage.

The Salukis then took over the game by going on first and 8-0 run capped off by a Rodriguez 3-pointer that put them up 53-47.

Rodriguez hit another 3-pointer with 4:29 on the clock that ticked the score up to 61-51 — the Salukis’ biggest lead of the game.

That would be the spark SIU needed as they cruised to a 73-61 victory.

Salukis look for another win at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 against Drake on the road.

Staff writer Jonathan Thompson can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @TheReal_Jt3.

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