CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Jeff Early scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and Southern Illinois won for only the third time since the calendar turned to 2013 with a 65-56 victory over Evansville on Wednesday night.
Southern Illinois (10-15, 3-11 Missouri Valley), which is only 3-10 since the New Year, shot 46.7 percent from the floor and saw its bench outscore Evansville's bench 26-9. Jalen Pendleton and Anthony Beane Jr. were a part of that bench, scoring 12 points apiece.
The Salukis led 31-30 at halftime but used a 17-4 run to begin the second half capped off by an Early 3-pointer to make it 48-34 with 11:11 remaining in the contest.
Colt Ryan scored 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting including five 3-pointers and grabbed four rebounds to lead Evansville (14-12, 7-7), which beat the Salukis 85-68 in the previous meeting Jan. 5.
Troy Taylor had 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals for the Purple Aces.
SMU has signed a second player from Australia, 6-foot-11 forward Harry Froling, to a national letter of intent. The Mustangs previously signed guard Tom Wilson from Australia.
There's nothing to suggest the Jayhawks won't end up atop the Big 12 for a 13th season in a row. But what about a return to the Final Four?
Colorado State graduate transfer John Gillon has chosen Syracuse, giving the Orange a potential starter at point guard entering the 2016-17 season.