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CARBONDALE, Ill. – A pair of free throws by Aaron Cook with 4.1 seconds left in overtime gave Southern Illinois an 81-80 victory over visiting Missouri State her Wednesday, in a game in which the visiting Bears put forth one of their best efforts of the season.
Missouri State (17-11, 7-8 MVC) was led by Jarrid Rhodes
who pumped in a career-high 21 points behind five 3-pointers, while Alize Johnson
secured his 18th
double-double of the year with 15 points, 16 rebounds and a game-high 5 assists.
SIU was led by Armon Fletcher's 22 points, while Sean Lloyd produced 21, including 20 in the second half.
MSU had opportunities at the end of regulation and overtime to win the game. Rhodes' 3-pointer before the final buzzer at the end of regulation rimmed out to force the extra period. The shot came after the Bears erased a five-point deficit with 3:29 to play.
After Cook's free throws in overtime, MSU got the ball to Jarred Dixon
, who scored 15 off the bench for the visitors. He drove all the way to the rim, and Obediah Church
grabbed his miss and put it in the basket for what briefly looked like a game-winner for MSU. But a video replay showed Church's put-back came after the horn, giving SIU its seventh straight win in the long-rivaled series.
MSU knocked down 12-of-29 (.414) from 3-point range, including three by freshman Mustafa Lawrence
who tallied 11 points. It marked the second-highest 3-point output of the year by MSU.
The Bears were 28-of-62 (.452) overall and made a season-high 92.3 percent at the foul line on 12-of-13 makes. MSU also out-rebounded the Salukis 40-33.
SIU (18-10, 10-5 MVC) shot 50 percent in the second half to overcome a slow start and finished 31-of-70 (.443) overall and 8-of-19 (.421), including three treys by Marcus Bartley. SIU was 11-of-13 (.846) at the stripe.
In the first half, the Bears drained three 3-pointers in the first five minutes to charge out to a 16-5 lead. MSU would finish the first stanza with a 46.4 percent effort from the field and 7-of-14 performance from beyond the arc.
But the Salukis chipped away, collecting five threes of their own and using a 15-6 run to end the half and go into the intermission leading the Bears, 35-34. Fletcher's desperation jumper at the buzzer banked hard off the glass but found the net to give the home club its first lead of the night.
There were nine ties and 16 lead changes in the contest.
MSU returns to JQH Arena on Sunday to begin its final home stand of the season. The Bears take on Drake at 3 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU before entertaining Bradley on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the home finale.
Tickets for the Drake game are on sale now at MissouriStateBears.com
or at the Old Missouri Bank Box Office at JQH Arena -- (417) 836-7678 – during regular box office hours. All available tickets for the Drake game are buy one, get one free for purchases made at the box office or by phone.