CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Derrik Smits scored 16 points with eight rebounds and Deion Lavender had a clutch basket with 13 seconds left and Valparaiso held off Southern Illinois 65-61 on Saturday.
The Crusaders (11-6, 4-0 Missouri Valley Conference) had a 59-46 lead after a Smits layup with 6:36 to play. But after that, Southern Illinois found its range, making 6 of 11 shots with two 3-pointers — though the Salukis were just 1 of 4 from the foul line — and closed within 63-61 on an Armon Fletcher free throw with 39.1 seconds to play.
Valparaiso ran the shot clock down before Lavender broke free for the clinching points. Southern Illinois missed its final two shots.
Kavion Pippen had 23 points for the Salukis (9-8, 2-2) and Fletcher, in his second game back after a six-game suspension, had 13 and 10 rebounds.