Illinois State beats Southern Illinois 73-50
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) Paris Lee made four 3-pointers, had four assists and finished with a career-high 21 points to lead Illinois State to a 73-59 win over Southern Illinois on Wednesday night, ensuring the Redbirds a two or three seed in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell scored 16, Deontae Hawkins added 15 and the Redbirds (18-12, 12-5) led 36-15 at halftime, holding the Salukis to the fewest first-half points scored by an opponent this season.
The Salukis trimmed the deficit to 41-23 on a dunk by Armon Fletcher with 16:18 left, but the Redbirds scored eight-straight points and led by 26 with 9:13 to go.
Rudy Stradnieks pulled the Salukis within 20 with a jumper with 3:13 left, but Southern Illinois got no closer.
Sean O'Brien scored 14, Fletcher had 13 and Bola Olaniyan grabbed 12 rebounds for Southern Illinois (21-9, 10-7), who will be seeded either fourth or fifth in the tournament.