for this game

Southern Illinois wraps up MVC title

Feb 22, 2007 - 5:30 AM TERRE HAUTE, Indiana (Ticker) -- Southern Illinois turned to its defense to wrap up the Missouri Valley Conference championship.

Senior guards Tony Young and Jamaal Tatum scored 15 points apiece as the 14th-ranked Salukis clinched the league title outright with a 58-50 victory over Indiana State.

Southern Illinois (24-5, 14-3 MVC) extended its winning streak to 10 games and won at Indiana State for the seventh straight time.

"That's what your seniors are supposed to do," Salukis coach Chris Lowery said. "It was good to see them come here and play inspired and emotional, just wanting to win."

Laboring offensively for most of the game, a combination of defense and the scoring of Young helped the Salukis break the game open in the second half.

Trailing by five points with just over 14 minutes to play, Southern Illinois went on a 22-6 run over the next 12 minutes to take command, 53-42, with 1:52 to play.

Young, who was saddled with foul trouble most of the early going, had 11 points in the decisive spurt, including a pair of 3-pointers and a three-point play to cap the run.

"We don't have enough perimeter defenders to go around," Sycamores coach Royce Waltman lamented. "We just let (Young) get loose. You can't do that with Tony Young."

The Sycamores (12-15, 5-12) briefly made it interesting as Marco Stinson and Cole Holmstrom connected from the arc to cut the deficit to 54-50 with 30 seconds left.

They got no closer as Young and Matt Shaw hit two free throws apiece to send Indiana State to its fifth straight defeat and 12th loss in 13 games.

The Salukis already had clinched the top seed in the conference postseason tournament, which Lowery felt may have affected his team's effort.

"There's a thousand reasons why we were flat," Lowery said. "You have to still respect the fact that (Indiana State) is a good team at home."

Southern Illinois, which leads the conference in allowing just 56.9 points per game, held an opponent to 50 points or fewer for the 10th time.

"I have great admiration for Southern Illinois," Waltman said. "I love the way they play, and I love the way they compete."

Stinson finished with 17 points for Indiana State, which shot 35 percent (17-of-48) from the field.