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Monday, Jan. 29

Tatum, Falker too much for ISU in second half

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[JAN. 29, 2007]  CARBONDALE -- Jamaal Tatum and Randal Falker combined to score 29 of Southern Illinois' 41 second-half points to spoil Illinois State's upset bid at SIU Arena on Saturday afternoon, as the Salukis posted a 73-62 Missouri Valley Conference victory.

The loss dropped the Redbirds to a .500 winning percentage on the season with an 11-11 overall mark and a 3-8 record in the Valley. SIU maintained its first-place standing with a 17-5 mark on the year and 8-3 in league play.

The Redbirds gave the Salukis a dose of their own medicine in the early going with a stifling defense and built a 13-3 advantage at the 15:26 mark in the first half. After four Saluki starters returned from an earlier-than-anticipated trip to the bench, SIU responded with a 13-3 run of its own to knot the score at 16-16 with 8:15 left.

ISU regained the lead as Mike Vandello was fouled on a fast-break dunk, but Vandello was shaken up on the play and Levi Dyer replaced the Redbird sophomore to finish the 3-point play. SIU's Tony Young followed with a 3-point basket of his own to tie the game again at 19-19. Young gave the Salukis their only lead of the first half with another trey at the 6:24 mark, but the Redbirds closed the half with a 10-2 run and held a 31-25 lead at the intermission.

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Again the two teams exchanged baskets to open the second half, but Falker established an inside presence and took control of the contest. ISU led 41-39 with 13:59 left in the game, but SIU went on a 16-8 run, including 13 points by Falker, to take a 55-49 lead. Later in the half, Tatum added six straight Saluki points to push the lead to 63-54, and the Redbirds were never able to recover.

Dyer paced ISU with 18 points, including 4-of-5 on 3s, while Osiris Eldridge added 17 points, also shooting 4-for-5 on treys, and a game-high eight rebounds. Tatum led the Salukis with 22 points and Falker finished with 19. Tony Young added 16 points to round out SIU's double-digit scorers.

(Box score)

Illinois State will play the first of two straight home games when the Redbirds host Evansville on Tuesday. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

(Text from file received from Todd Kober, assistant athletics director, media relations, Illinois State University)

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