(14) Drake 62

(22-2, 13-1 MVC)

S Illinois 65

(13-12, 8-6 MVC)

    8:05 PM ET, February 13, 2008

    SIU Arena, Carbondale, Illinois

    1 2 T
    #14DRKE 36 2662
    SIU 39 2665

    Top Performers

    Drake: J. Cox 11 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast

    Southern Illinois: R. Falker 13 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    SIU prevents Drake from clinching MVC regular-season title

    CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) -- A shot that ended up an inch on the wrong side of the basket kept Drake (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) from cutting down the nets for its first conference title since 1971 and snapped the Bulldogs' 21-game winning streak.

    Randal Falker had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Southern Illinois beat Drake 65-62 on Wednesday night.

    Leonard Houston's 3-pointer that could have sent the game into overtime bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

    Southern Illinois forward Matt Shaw, whose free throw with 2.3 seconds left made it a three-point game, said the Salukis (13-12, 8-6 Missouri Valley Conference) were determined to keep the scissors out of the Bulldogs' hands.

    "That's just extra motivation," Shaw said. "We didn't want them to come to our gym and cut down our nets and clinch the championship."

    Bryan Mullins added 13 points, including three 3-pointers, for Southern Illinois (13-12, 8-6), which is perfect at home in conference play this season.

    Falker's persistent inside effort caused Drake defenders to collapse with double- and triple-teams. Their focus on Falker inside allowed the Salukis to display their patience, working the ball around to the open man and often not shooting until the shot clock hit single digits.

    On the other end, Southern Illinois flustered Drake's shooters with heavy pressure as far as 10 feet behind the 3-point arc. Drake (22-2, 13-1) finished at 43.1 percent from the field (22-for-51), including 10-for-29 on 3s.

    The Bulldogs' cold shooting started early, as Southern Illinois opened on a 9-2 run by working the ball inside to Falker and forward Tony Boyle.

    Drake coach Keno Davis said the plan was to limit inside scoring, but they were bested by Southern Illinois' guards, who finished 9-for-20 from beyond the arc, with Mullins and Josh Bone each hitting three 3s.

    "You kind of have to pick your poison somewhat when you go in there, so we went on the inside," Davis said.

    Josh Young had 17 points for the Bulldogs, whose other loss was 72-66 to Saint Mary's, Calif. on Nov. 11.

    The win gave Southern Illinois its second victory over a nationally ranked team this season, after beating then-No. 21 Saint Mary's.

    Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery said his team was not motivated by the Bulldogs' ranking or perfect conference record. They simply wanted revenge after a 72-53 thrashing at Creighton on Sunday night.

    "Our guys ... got it done," Lowery said.

    Mullins consistently broke Drake's press to give the Salukis fast-break opportunities and transition baskets.

    "They made some runs and hit some shots, but we always had an answer," Mullins said.

    Drake forwards Klayton Korver and Jonathan Cox added 11 points each.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 62 65
    FG Made-Attempted 22-51 (.431) 24-48 (.500)
    3P Made-Attempted 10-29 (.345) 9-20 (.450)
    FT Made-Attempted 8-13 (.615) 8-11 (.727)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 12 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 1 8

    2007-08 Season

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