Southern Illinois hands CSU first home loss of season

In the final Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge, Colorado State men’s basketball was defeated by Southern Illinois, 82-67.

Despite shooting 51 percent from the field as a team, the Rams were dominated by the Salukis in the paint Tuesday night. SIU out-rebounded CSU by a margin of 34-17 and also finished with 26 more points in the paint. With such a significant advantage in the post, Southern Illinois was able to consistently get off high percentage shots and maintain its lead.

"Sometimes in rotations, you're going to have to punish a bigger guy,” Niko Medved told reporters postgame.

“You may not come up with the rebound, but simply punishing or blocking him out will allow somebody else to get one. You have to gang rebound. Guards have to rebound. It's five guys who have to be committed to defensive rebounding if you're going to beat a good team."

Five different Salukis totaled double-digit scoring figures, including senior guard Armon Fletcher, who finished with a game-high 20 points. Kavion Pippen (16), Aaron Cook (15), Sean Lloyd (13) and Eric McGil (10) rounded out SIU’s leading scorers.

In a losing effort, the Rams were led by Kris Martin, who saw his first minutes at Moby Arena this season. Martin finished with 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 27 minutes. Anthony Masinton-Bonner added 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting as well.

The Rams will look to rebound on Saturday when CSU faces Colorado in Boulder in the 2018 Rocky Mountain Showdown.