EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) D.J. Balentine scored 27 points and Evansville beat Southern Illinois 83-71 on Saturday to move into a second-place tie in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Evansville (22-7, 11-5) won its third straight to tie Illinois State, which lost to Northern Iowa.
Evansville and Southern Illinois came in with identical records with the Purple Aces winning at SIU in overtime on Jan. 28. Saturday's game was a different story with Balentine scoring the first three points in the second half to give the Aces a double-digit lead. Two Balentine free throws put Evansville up 23 with 9:12 left.
Egidijus Mockevicius added 11 points and 12 rebounds for his NCAA-leading 24th double-double this season. Jaylon Brown scored 19 points as the Aces shot 54.5 percent. Balentine now stands alone in fifth on the MVC career points list at 2,367.
Anthony Beane led the Salukis (21-8, 10-6), who dropped into fourth place.