SPRINGFIELD– On the heels of a massive, 14-point come-from-behind road win against Drake, Dana Ford’s team found themselves just one win shy of first place in the Valley Conference. But you know what they say, if you wanna be the best, you gotta beat the best.

And that means taking the high ground from M-V-C co-leader Southern Illinois. The Salukis on a three-game winning streak, but haven’t beaten the Bears in five straight meetings.

Early moments of the first half, off an MSU miss, Marcus Domask gets the basket and the foul. Salukis ahead 10-5.

Few possessions later, Jonathan Mogbo and Alston Mason play give and go, Mogbo rings the bell with the two handed jam. Mogbo finished with 14 and 11 to earn his third double-double of the season.

With just 4 over minutes til intermission, Bryan Trimble Jr. says if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. He was the only other Bear in double figures, mo-state trailed by 5 at the break.

S.I.’s Dalton Banks only made one-triple the whole game, but it boosted the Saluki’s advantage to 7 with 13 minutes left in regulation.

Six minutes later, Lance Jones hits his second three in a row, and he’s not shy about celebrating. Southern Illinois now leads by 11- largest of the game.

But over the next 4:30 minutes, the Bears go on a 15-6 run, highlighted by Chance Moore’s three-pointer with 42 seconds left. MSU trails 59-57.

So with 10 seconds remaining, Bears need a stop, Xavier Johnson pulls up and hits the ice maker.

The Salukis led wire-to-wire and hold off a late charge from the Bears to keep their grip atop the MVC.

“Today we just didn’t have the toughness and aggression needed to win a game like that,” said Bears head coach Dana Ford. “If we win a game I can come in here and say we out toughed them. If we didn’t win a game I can come in here and say they out toughed us. We’re getting out toughed at home, that’s what’s happening to us.”