CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Indiana State owned a pair of spirited runs -- one in each half -- but a final push was not enough as the Sycamores fell 76-71 to Southern Illinois in front of 5,315 fans inside SIU Arena.
The Sycamores fell to 10-6, 3-2 MVC while Southern Illinois improved to 8-8, 1-4 MVC.
Manny Arop led the Sycamores with 16 points and six rebounds while both Jake Odum and Lucas Eitel scored 15 points each. Eitel was 5-of-9 from 3-point range in the contest. Justin Gant scored 10 points.
The Sycamores hit 43.6 percent (24-of-55) of their shots, which topped the Salukis mark of 41.2 percent (21-of-51). Indiana State committed 19 turnovers and the Salukis scored 21 points of them.
Justin Gant got the Sycamores on the board first in the game with a long jumper just over a minute in to stake Indiana State to a quick 2-0 lead.
A dunk by Southern Illinois's Jeff Early with 6:13 remaining in the first half stretched the Salukis lead out to 21-15, but Indiana State scored eight of the game's next 10 points to knot the game at 23. Jake Odum answered the Early dunk with a conventional 3-point play and then a jumper to trim the SIU lead down to 21-20. After the Salukis added another field goal to take a three point lead, Khristian Smith added his own 3-point play to tie it up at 23 with 4:10 remaining.
RJ Mahurin and Manny Arop scored with just over one minute remaining in the opening stanza to stretch the run out to 12-2 and gave the Sycamores a 27-23 lead. Anthony Beane scored on a conventional 3-point play to kick start a 8-0 Saluki run in the final 49 seconds on the first half as the Salukis went into locker room with a 31-27 advantage.
Justin Gant scored eight points to lead ISU in the first half of action. The Sycamores were 0-of-6 from 3-point range before the break, but did convert a trio of conventional 3-point plays.
The Salukis continued their run into the second half with which they ended the first stanza by scoring the first six points after the break to take a 37-27 lead just over two minutes in. Indiana State called a timeout and righted the ship with a Gant free throw at the 17:24 mark which got ISU within 37-28. Lucas Eitel then got the Sycamores' first 3-pointer of the contest with 16:40 remaining to make it 37-31.
Southern Illinois ran their lead back out to 43-33, but ISU scored eight in a row, the last four by Arop to cut the SIU lead down to 43-41 with 11:25 on the clock. Dantiel Daniels ended the Sycamore spurt with a lay-up as the clock went under 11 minutes to go to restore the Salukis four point advantage. It was part of a 7-0 run as Southern Illinois regained a 50-41 cushion.
Arop softened the blow as he was fouled driving to the basket with 8:51 remaining and hit both free throws to make it 50-43. Lucas Eitel drilled his second 3-pointer of the second half with 8:25 left to get ISU within 52-46 to answer a pair of Saluki charity tosses.
ISU once again found itself down by 10 pts, but Eitel's third triple of the second half with 5:40 remaining cut the Saluki lead down to just seven points, but Desmar Jackson countered with a triple of his own with just over five minutes remaining to restore the 61-51 cushion. Odum answered with a driving lay-up and Gant hit 1-of-2 free throws with 4:20 remaining to cut the Saluki lead down to 61-54.
RJ Mahurin hit a driving lay-up with 2:04 remaining which cut the SIU lead down to 64-59.
Jake Odum hit a pair of free throws with a minute left to cut the Southern Illinois lead down to 68-62 after he was fouled driving the basket. Eitel hit back-to-back 3-pointers, with the second one coming with 14.7 seconds left to cut the Saluki lead down to 73-68 sandwhiched around a SIU turnover.
Desmar Jackson scored 29 points to lead the Salukis.
The Sycamores return to action at home on Wednesday, January 16 against Missouri State. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET).