Falker leads Southern Illinois past Evansville
Carbondale, IL (Sports Network) – Randal Falker posted a career-high 30 points
and had seven rebounds to lead 13th-ranked Southern Illinois over Evansville,
76-69, in the regular-season finale for both teams at SIU Arena.
Tony Young poured in 17 points and Jamaal Tatum finished with 15 points for
Southern Illinois (25-5, 15-3 MVC), which has won 11 straight games and
increased its home winning streak to 14 games. The Sulukis shot 52 percent in
the contest but were just 2-of-13 (15 percent) from three-point range.
Matt Webster scored a team-high 21 points for Evansville (14-16, 6-12), which
has lost three of four and six of its last nine games overall. Jason Holsinger
chipped in with 11 points, while Kyle Anslinger scored 10 for the Purple Aces.
Both sides looked evenly matched early on as Southern Illinois jumped ahead,
15-11, on Tony Boyle’s jumper at 11:50. Evansville quickly answered, however,
as back-to-back shots by Darin Granger and Victor Gomez tied things up.
The Sulukis grabbed a five-point lead, 35-30, on a pair of pair of Young free
throws with 3:04 remaining in the half. Evansville attempted to battle back,
but Southern Illinois kept plugging away.
Randal Falker hit a final bucket for SUI with 1:05 left until the break, and
the Sulukis carried a 39-33 edge into intermission.
Evansville took a 44-43 lead on Aslinger’s jumper at 15:38, before SUI went on
a 14-2 run to take a commanding 57-46 lead with 8:49 remaining in the contest.
The Purple Aces collapse had a lot to do with the absence of Webster, the
team’s leading scorer, who sat much of the half after picking up his second
foul with 13:18 to play.
Evansville pulled within four, 70-66, on Webster’s three-pointer with just
2:02 remaining, but the team made just one more shot from the floor the rest
of the way.
Since 2001-02, the Sulukis are 53-2 against MVC opponents…SIU leads the
series, 58-46, and has won 17 of the last 20 meetings between the teams…
Southern Illinois players Tatum, Young, C.J. Smith and Kobby Acquah were
honored during Senior Day festivities prior to the game…It was the second
sell-out of the season for SIU.