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Marshall, Downing lead Missouri State to 61-53 win over Southern Illinois in MVC tournament

Marcus Marshall scored 18 points and Anthony Downing had 16 as Missouri State defeated Southern Illinois 61-53 Thursday night in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

Christian Kirk added 10 points and eight rebounds for the seventh-seeded Bears (11-21), who will face No. 2 seed Wichita State on Friday.

Desmar Jackson and Anthony Beane Jr. scored 12 points apiece for 10th-seeded Southern Illinois (14-17). The Salukis had won six of their last eight games after starting the conference season 1-10.

Missouri State used an early 15-2 run to go on top 23-15, and led 32-22 at halftime. After the Salukis pulled within five points midway through the second half, the Bears scored eight straight to go ahead 47-34 and led by double digits the rest of the way.

Missouri State hit 16 of 22 free throws to just 6 of 10 for Southern Illinois.