SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – Desmar Jackson had 23 points and 11 rebounds as sixth-seeded Southern Illinois squandered a 19-point second-half lead on Friday night, but held on to beat No. 3 seed Northern Iowa 63-58.
Anthony Beane added 16 points for SIU (14-18) which extended a 36-18 halftime lead to 43-24 early in the second half and was still leading 52-41 on Davante Drinkard's jumper with 6:18 left. UNI (16-15) rattled off 11 straight points over the next three minutes to tie the game at 52.
But the Panthers never took the lead as Southern Illinois scored five straight to take the lead for good and UNI missed all five of its 3-point attempts in the final two minutes.
Seth Tuttle had 15 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots for UNI.
The victory advances the Salukis to the Missouri Valley Conference semifinals where they will face No. 2 seed Indiana State on Saturday.