Jeff Early had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Desmar Jackson added 12 points and 10 rebounds as Southern Illinois defeated SIU Edwardsville 71-55 on Tuesday night.
Kendal Brown-Surles and Anthony Beane Jr. scored 15 points each for the Salukis (3-0), who are off to their best start since 2007-08.
Derian Shaffer had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars (1-2) in a volatile contest between sister schools separated by 100 miles.
The game was delayed for 20 minutes following a scuffle under the SIUE basket with 6:16 remaining. Officials reviewed video and ejected three players on the floor — Antonio Bryer of Southern Illinois and Ray Lester and Jerome Jones of SIUE — for flagrant fouls and four SIUE players who left the bench. No punches appeared to be thrown.
The Cougars led 42-40 when Brown-Surles drained a 3-point shot for the Salukis with 12:29 remaining. That ignited a 26-5 run that sealed the victory for Southern Illinois, which played much of the contest without its top inside player, forward Dantiel Daniels, who was limited to 12 minutes because of foul trouble.