CARBONDALE, Ill. - Missouri State (15-11, 8-6) picked up its eighth road victory of the season here Wednesday with a 56-54 win at Southern Illinois (8-17, 5-9), holding off a late surge by the Salukis to win for the second straight win at SIU Arena.
The Bears got 18 points from Caleb Patterson and 14 from Kyle Weems while firing at a 51.2 percent clip to overcome a 17-turnover night and improve to 8-6 in the league.
The Bears took a 56-52 lead on a tip-in by Weems with 43.6 seconds left. The Salukis then rallied behind a baseline drive by Jeff Early who converted a layup with 27.3 to go. SIU then fouled Jarmar Gulley with 25 ticks remaining, but Gulley missed the front end of a one-and-one to open the door for the home club.
The Salukis called a timeout with 16.3 to go and Mamadou Seck missed a 12-foot jumper with Weems in his face, and Early had a chance for a put-back but missed. Gulley then grabbed the rebound as time expired to seal the win.
Keith Pickens finished with 9 points and a career-high 9 rebounds for MSU, which out-rebounded SIU 33-23.
Seck led SIU with 14 points and 5 rebounds.
After MSU led 31-25 at the intermission, it took Southern just under three minutes to erase the six-point halftime deficit as back-to-back three-pointers by T.J. Lindsay pushed the home club on top 33-32 at the 17:12 mark.
With just under 16 minutes to go, a three-pointer by Patterson, MSU's first of the night, gave the Bears a 37-35 advantage, and the Bears pushed ahead by six over the next five minutes. Christian Kirk scored a layup at the 11:19 mark to make it a 45-39 game.
A 6-1 run by the home team brought the Salukis back within 46-45 with eight-and-a-half remaining, but Patterson came to the rescue again with a pair of free throws with just over eight minutes on the clock to push the Bears' lead back to three.
Lindsay tied the game again at the 5:32 mark with his third and final trey of the night, but Weems answered the bell moments later to put the Bears back up for good on his only long ball of the night.
MSU finished 21-for-41 (.512) from the field and 3-of-12 (.250) from bonus distance while going 11-for-16 (.688) at the line.
The Salukis were 23-for-51 (.451) and 5-of-16 (.313) from three. SIU was a dismal 3-of-10 (.300) at the line and had just 9 turnovers.
The Bears took charge in the first 10 minutes, getting a layup by Michael Bizoukas for the first basket of the game and held off three Saluki ties in the first 10 minutes to keep control.
A technical foul was called on SIU's Early at the 13:47 mark of the first half after he slapped the floor after a rebounding foul. His second and third fouls sent him to the bench for the remainder of the first half and put Isaiah Rhine on the line for a pair of technical shots to break a 6-6 tie at the time.
At the 11:10 mark, Patterson returned to the floor for the first time since Jan. 25 and converted a traditional three-point play 18 seconds later to put MSU up 15-10.
The Salukis, however reeled off a 20-1 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to take a 20-17 advantage before Patterson got it back to a one-point game with a pair of free throws with just over eight minutes to go in the opening stanza.
The lead would change hands five more times over the next three minutes before a put-back by Pickens put MSU up 25-24. The Bears went on a 6-1 run to end the half, including a layup just before the horn to take a 31-25 advantage into the locker room.
The Bears return to JQH Arena on Sunday to take on Bradley (7-19, 2-12) at 2 p.m. in a nationally-televised game on FOX Sports Net.