CARBONDALE -- Illinois State and Southern Illinois traded baskets down the stretch, until the Salukis pulled away late for a 72-63 victory in a game that featured an 18 point second half swing.
SIU senior Armon Fletcher led the way with a game-high 26 points, helping the Salukis (17-14, 10-8) clinch a three seed in next week's Missouri Valley tournament. They will face Northern Iowa Friday at 8:35 PM.
The Redbirds (16-15, 9-9) drop to the seven seed, and will face Evansville in the play-in game Thursday at 8:35 PM. It's the first time in eight years Illinois State has been relegated to the play-in round.