MEN’S BASKETBALL OUTPLAYS #18 MISSOURI ST. LOUIS FOR 20 MINUTES, BUT CAN’T COMPLETE THE UPSET

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Photographs courtesy of Daksh Udakykumar Desai

PICTURE OF JESUS CASTILLO (21)

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team outplayed No. 18 Missouri-St. Louis for 20 minutes on Thursday night at TRAC. The Tritons came back though in the second half, and escaped Springfield with a 63-55 victory over the Prairie Stars.

UIS built a lead in the first half by having the better defense against the No. 3 scoring defense in the nation. The Prairie Stars held Missouri-St. Louis to just 27.0 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent shooting from three-point range in the half.

After the two teams were tied at 7-7, UIS went on an 8-0 run and led for the rest of the half. It had a 22-20 lead with 4:37 left, when it outscored the Tritons 14-5 for the remainder of the half for a 36-25 advantage at the break.

Missouri-St. Louis was able to turn the tables in the second half. It held the Prairie Stars to just 25 percent shooting for the period, including three-of-14 from three-point range. The Tritons also got its offense going, shooting over 50 percent from the field and making five-of-eight three-pointers.

UIS led 40-30 four minutes in the second period, but Missouri-St. Louis went on a 16-0 run over a five-minute span to take control of the game. The Prairie Stars did keep it close, trailing just 57-55 with three minutes left. Missouri-St. Louis hit a big three-pointer though on its next possession, and held UIS without a point for the final 180 seconds.

UIS won the rebounding battle 41-36 in the game, but the Tritons had a +12 turnover margin. Missouri-St. Louis had a 32-14 advantage in points in the pain, and a 26-6 lead in points off turnovers.

Daniel Soetan had a team-high 20 points, and Jesus Castillo had 14. Keymonta Johnson had nine points and nine rebounds, and Soetan also had nine boards. Johnson led the team with three assists. Kaj Days and Castillo both pulled down seven rebounds, and Days blocked four shots in the game.

UIS falls to 9-8 overall and 2-7 in the GLVC. The Prairie Stars return home on Saturday afternoon for a 3 p.m. game against Lindenwood.