Daily Egyptian

Salukis complete season sweep of Northern Iowa

Head+coach+Barry+Hinson+celebrates+a+win+Sunday%2C+Jan.+21%2C+2018%2C+during+the+Salukis%27+64-53+victory+over+the+University+of+Northern+Iowa+Panthers+at+SIU+Arena.+%28Brian+Munoz+%7C+%40BrianMMunoz%29
Head coach Barry Hinson celebrates a win Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, during the Salukis' 64-53 victory over the University of Northern Iowa Panthers at SIU Arena. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Head coach Barry Hinson celebrates a win Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, during the Salukis' 64-53 victory over the University of Northern Iowa Panthers at SIU Arena. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Brian Mu–noz

Brian Mu–noz

Head coach Barry Hinson celebrates a win Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, during the Salukis' 64-53 victory over the University of Northern Iowa Panthers at SIU Arena. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Ryan Demer, Sports Reporter

The SIU men’s basketball team defeated the Northern Iowa Panthers (10-10, 2-6 MVC) on Sunday afternoon, 64-53.

The win completed the Southern’s first season sweep over UNI since the 2002-03 season. Earlier this season, SIU snapped a streak of 14 consecutive losses at Northern Iowa.

“We have to give Southern credit, they battled hard and made plays,” UNI head coach Ben Jacobson said. “The longer the game went on, the more of an edge that they developed.”

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Junior guard Sean Lloyd Jr. drives the ball past University of Northern Iowa guard Tywhon Pickford Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, during the Salukis’ 64-53 victory over the University of Northern Iowa Panthers at SIU Arena. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

The Salukis found themselves in a typical Missouri Valley Conference defensive battle from the get-go, as both teams denied any easy buckets.

Both teams traded points consistently, but following a 3-pointer from junior guard Marcus Bartley, Southern refused to give up its lead in the first half. Bartley finished with 12 points on 4-5 shooting from 3-point range and dished 2 assists in the game.

“My coaches have been on me to be more aggressive and getting people in the right spots,” Bartley said. “My teammates did a great job of executing and making shots.”

The first half ended with the score at 25-21 after junior guard Armon Fletcher scored on a free throw with seconds left. Fletcher nearly dropped a double-double, as he scored 12 points with nine rebounds in the game.

After Northern Iowa scored the opening points of the second half, SIU took over.

Southern shot over 55 percent in the second half, compared to the Panthers 35.5 percent. The Salukis also shot 4-6 from beyond the arc in the half, compared to UNI’s 4-15 clip.

In a 13-minute span, the Salukis went on a massive 28-13 scoring run and built a double-digit lead over the Panthers late in the game.

However, with three minutes remaining, UNI answered back with consecutive 3-pointers and a quick layup for an 8-0 scoring run that made the score 54-46.

Southern responded with three consecutive buckets and regained its double-digit lead.

“I thought we answered the bell every time we needed to,” head coach Barry Hinson said. “I have to give our guys credit for focusing and executing after each time out.”

Junior guard Armon Fletcher attempts to keep the ball from University of Northern Iowa forward Austin Phyfe Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, during the Salukis’ 64-53 victory over the University of Northern Iowa Panthers at SIU Arena. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Shortly after the Panthers came back with a layup, senior guard Sean Lloyd raced down the court for an emphatic slam dunk that erupted the Saluki crowd and effectively took Northern Iowa out of the game.

Lloyd finished the game with 15 points and six rebounds. He also recorded three steals and two assists.

Junior center Kavion Pippen dropped a double-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

SIU (12-9, 4-4 MVC) resumes action on Wednesday night at SIU Arena against the Indiana State Sycamores. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Sports reporter Ryan Demer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @RyanDemer_DE 

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

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