Saluki winning streak continues after close victory over Loyola


Junior forward Thik Bol goes for the ball Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, during SIU’s 85-84 overtime win against the Missouri State Bears at SIU Arena. (Luke Nozicka | @lukenozicka)

By Jonathan Thompson

SIU men’s basketball is on a three-game winning streak after Saturday’s 67-61 defeat against Loyola in Chicago.

The victory propelled the Salukis (14-11, 7-4 MVC) into third place in Missouri Valley Conference standings — five games behind Illinois State (19-4, 11-0 MVC).

Loyola had an early advantage breaking out a 4-0 lead after senior guard Milton Doyle made two free throws. The Salukis’ first point didn’t come until junior forward Thik Bol split a pair of free throws making the score 4-1.


The Ramblers maintained control until senior guard Mike Rodriguez made a layup to tie the score at 10.

Loyola called timeout after Rodriguez’s bucket, but right out of the timeout the Salukis went on a 6-0 run to give the Dawgs a solid lead.

SIU held the points until the Ramblers put together a 7-0 run — capped of by a 3-pointer by junior guard Donte Ingram — to tie the game at 21. Another run by the Salukis extended their lead 26-21, but Loyola again caught up, tying the game with a 3-pointer by Ingram.

The teams traded baskets to end the first half tied at 28.

Senior forward Sean O’Brien picked up his seventh triple-double of the season and the sixteenth in his career, scoring 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The second half started with the teams neck-and-neck as they traded baskets until with 15:58, SIU went on a 5-0 run to give it a 38-33 advantage.

The Salukis held the lead until the 9:40 mark where Doyle tied the game at 41. Soon after Rodriguez made a 3-pointer to give the Salukis a three point advantage with 8:27 remaining.


Rodriguez finished with 14 points, two rebounds and two assists.

Southern didn’t give up the lead for the reminder of the game — the Salukis extended their lead to as much as nine before winning 67-61.

The Salukis looks to continue their success at 7 p.m. Thursday against UNI in Cedar Falls.

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

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