CARBONDALE, Ill. – Illinois State didn’t have an answer for Southern Illinois’ Carlton Fay, who tossed in a game-high 33 points, as the Salukis posted a 63-59 win over the Redbirds in Missouri Valley Conference play Sunday afternoon, at SIU Arena.
John Wilkins and Jackie Carmichael each tallied 13 points and five rebounds, as the Redbirds dropped to 8-8 on the season and 0-5 in the Valley. Southern Illinois’ record improves to 9-7 overall and 3-2 in Valley play.
The two teams battled to a deadlock in the first half, 32-32. After trading baskets for most of the half, the Redbirds were able to build a seven-point lead, 23-16, thanks to nine-straight ISU points by Wilkins. The Redbird sophomore ended the first half with 11 points, but Southern Illinois went on a 12-5 run and tied the game back up, 28-28.
Illinois State appeared to be heading into the locker room with the lead after Austin Hill made a driving layup with 27.9 seconds left in the half, but Hill was called for an unsportsmanlike technical foul and SIU forced the 32-32 tie heading into the break.
The stalemate continued in the second half, until Fay caught fire. Fay sank 12 of SIU’s first 19 points in the second half, as Southern Illinois built a 51-46 lead. Illinois State battled back and trailed 58-57 with 4:20 left in the game. The two teams remained scoreless until the final 20 seconds, when Carmichael put the Redbirds up 59-58 with a move along the baseline.
Fay put the Salukis back into control, 61-59, with his fourth three-point basket of the half and his fifth of the game with 12.8 seconds left on the clock. Illinois State had a chance to tie the game, but Jon Ekey was stripped inside the paint with 5.2 seconds. After a couple ISU fouls, Fay headed to the free throw line and knocked down a pair of shots for the win.
Courtesy Illinois State University