- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Deion Lavender scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds to help lead ninth-seeded Southern Illinois past eighth-seeded Missouri state 55-48 in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on Thursday night.

Anthony Beane and Sean O’Brien each added 10 points for the Salukis (12-20), who will play top-seed Wichita State on Friday. Thursday was the fifth time in six years Southern Illinois has played in an opening round “play-in game.” They are 3-4 overall in the first round.

After Missouri State’s Dorrian Williams hit two free throw to cut the Southern Illinois lead to 45-43 with 3:20 to play, the Salukis scored the next five, highlighted by and O’Brien 3-pointer, to push the back to seven and put the game away.

Austin Ruder scored 17 to lead the Bears (11-20), who shot just 35 percent from the field and turned the ball over 16 times.

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