Daily Egyptian

Salukis blown out by Evansville in regular-season finale

By Ryan Demer, Sports Reporter

In the final game of the regular season, the SIU men’s basketball team was blown out by the Evansville Purple Aces, 75-44.

SIU was outrebounded 34-25 in the game and shot only 31 percent from the field, compared to Evansville’s 56.4 shooting percentage.

The loss is the most lopsided defeat Southern has taken since it traveled to Louisville on Nov. 21.

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Despite the loss, Drake fell to Valparaiso and Illinois State to Loyola, giving SIU the second seed in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament next weekend.

Evansville (17-14, 7-11 MVC) got on Southern early with a 17-3 scoring run which helped build a 26-10 lead.

The Purple Aces continued to add to their lead for the rest of the first half, as the score was 36-17 heading into the locker room.

Evansville’s junior guard Ryan Taylor caught fire in the second half and thwarted any thoughts of a Saluki comeback.

Taylor scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half and grabbed five rebounds in the game.

Junior guard Armon Fletcher responded to several of Taylor’s buckets, but Evansville kept scoring and kept its distance from SIU.

Fletcher scored all 11 of his points in the second half and pulled down five rebounds.

Senior guard Tyler Smithpeters also scored 10 points in the game with four rebounds.

The second-place finish marked the highest finish the Salukis have seen since they won the MVC in the 2006-07 season.

The Salukis (19-12, 11-7 MVC) will now look towards the State Farm MVC Tournament beginning next Thursday.

SIU will play its first game of Arch Madness on March 2 against the winner of Valparaiso and Missouri State. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Sports writer 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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