Illinois State beats Southern Illinois in MVC semifinal, will face Loyola

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ST. LOUIS — Phil Fayne scored 13 of his career-high 26 points in overtime and No. 3 seed Illinois State turned back second-seeded Southern Illinois 76-68 in a semifinal of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Saturday.

The Redbirds (18-14) earned a date with top-seeded Loyola in the championship game Sunday.

Fayne, a 49 percent shooter from the free-throw line coming in, made just 1 of 4 from the line in the final 1:42, but the one he made sent the game to overtime tied at 56. Fayne, who scored the final four points of regulation, scored the first 11 points for Illinois State in the extra period and his 3-point play with 2:43 left gave the Redbirds a 65-61 lead. Fayne was 5 of 10 from the foul line through regulation, but he made all seven of his free-throw tries in overtime. He added nine rebounds and blocked three shots.

Fayne’s dunk gave Illinois State a 54-49 lead with 6:36 left in regulation, but the Redbirds scored just two points from there on a pair of Fayne free throws. Meanwhile, Armon Fletcher buried a 3-pointer to pull the Salukis (20-13) within 54-52 with 3:40 remaining. Tyler Smithpeters made two free throws and Aaron Cook scored on a layup to give Southern Illinois a 56-55 lead with 1:59 to go.

Illinois State scored 20 points in the five-minute overtime after only scoring 20 in the second half. The Redbirds led 36-29 at halftime. William Tinsley finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for ISU.

Fletcher and Sean Lloyd Jr. each scored 15 for Southern Illinois.

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