ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Justin Bocot scored 13 points, including a key 3-pointer with 5:49 left that gave Southern Illinois the lead for good, as the eighth-seeded Salukis advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating No. 9 seed Illinois State 57-54 Thursday night in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
Kendal Brown-Surles and Mamadou Seck each added 10 points for the Salukis, who won their first game in the tournament since 2007. Southern Illinois (13-18) will play top-seeded Missouri State (23-7) on Friday.
Illinois State (12-19) was led by Austin Hill's 13 points. Tony Lewis had 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Bocot's 3-pointer broke a 46-46 tie. Illinois State appeared to tie it again at 55 on a long jumper by Hill with 12 seconds left. But after review, the shot was ruled a two-pointer, and Southern Illinois went back up by three on John Freeman's slam dunk 6 seconds later.
A 3-point attempt by the Redbirds' Alex Rubin to tie the game hit the rim and bounced away.
In addition to compiling the same record, the Salukis and Redbirds split the season series and combined for 118 points in both contests. So it was no surprise that the first half was close.
But after Illinois State Jackie Carmichael tied it at 20 with a free throw with 4:07 left in the half, the Salukis got some breathing room. Freeman and Carlton Fay hit jumpers, and Seck made a couple of free throws with 53 seconds left to give Southern Illinois a 26-21 halftime advantage.
The Salukis picked up where they had left off in the second half. Brown-Surles scored his 10 points in the first 5:37 of the half. His steal and subsequent layup capped his outburst and made it 38-30.
"We really played like this was our last game," Brown-Surles said.
After falling behind by 10, Illinois State battled back to tie it at 46 on a layup by Lewis with 6:07 left, setting the stage for Bocot's big shot.
"I thought our guys played hard," Salukis coach Chris Lowery said. "A consistent effort on both sides of the ball."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)