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.
Top-50 prospect Jaylen Nowell committed to Washington on Wednesday. Nowell, a shooting guard, is No. 45 on the ESPN 100.
Mitchell Robinson, the No. 15 player in the country in the Class of 2017, has committed to Western Kentucky.
ESPN College Basketball reporter Myron Medcalf discusses whether Shaquille O'Neal's son Shareef could end up playing at LSU, Kentucky or Michigan State.