The University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team saw its 12-point lead with 4:49 left in the game evaporate as the Southern Illinois Salukis rallied for a 68-66 victory at SIU Arena on Tuesday night.
The Salukis (6-12 overall, 2-3 MVC) finished the game on 16-2 run that was capped by a basket by Desmar Jackson with 6.9 seconds left. Jackson led the Salukis with 19 points.
UNI had a chance to tie in the closing seconds as Deon Mitchell raced the ball up the floor and had his layup partially blocked by Jackson. UNI’s Chip Rank got the rebound and put up a shot before the buzzer but it rolled off the rim for a miss.
UNI’s Seth Tuttle tied a career-high with 24 points. Matt Bohannon also knocked in four 3-pointers for his 12 points.
“We relaxed instead of being in attack mode on the final few minutes,” Tuttle said. “They got the momentum on their side. We just didn’t close it out.”
UNI (9-8 overall, 3-2 MVC) held SIU without a basket in the first half from the 15:44 mark to the 5:12 mark. During that stretch, UNI outscored SIU, 16-4. The Panthers eventually opened up a 17-point lead at 36-19 with 1:18 remaining before the half. The Salukis then scored the final six points of the first half to trail at the intermission, 36-25.
UNI will return home to play host to the Missouri State Bears on Saturday at Noon in the McLeod Center.
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