CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Kavion Pippen scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds as Southern Illinois beat Missouri State 75-70 in a Missouri Valley Conference opener on Wednesday night.

Pippen was 9 of 12 from the field for the Salukis (8-6). Aaron Cook added 15 points, five rebounds and seven assists, Eric McGill had 14 points on four 3-pointers with 12 rebounds and Sean Lloyd Jr. scored 11 points.

McGill capped a 12-4 start with a 3-pointer and the Salukis were on top all the way in the first half as they maintained their lead for a 39-31 advantage at the break.

Missouri State closed to tie it 46-all early in the second half but Lloyd and Darius Beane answered with 3-pointers to give Southern Illinois breathing room, 52-48, with 12:40 to play. The Salukis held the lead after that with a 3-pointer and five free throws by Cook in the stretch helping to keep them on top.

Ryan Kreklow and Keandre Cook scored 15 points apiece to lead the Bears (6-8).