CARBONDALE — Marcus Domask added another chapter to his storied freshman season Saturday night against Missouri State, catching Ronnie Suggs' full-court pass near the left sideline and sending more than 6,000 fans at the Banterra Center into pandemonium.
Domask, a 6-foot-6 freshman guard, caught Suggs' lob near the 3-point line, with two defenders behind him, dribbled once to his right, and fired a jumper that went straight down at the buzzer to lift the Salukis to a 68-66 win. Domask had a chance to put SIU up one at the free-throw line in the final minute, but he missed his second attempt, and got another shot when the Bears' Ja'Monta Black missed an open 3 from the left wing.
SIU center Barret Benson, who scored a game-high 24 points, grabbed his game-best seventh rebound and called timeout right before the horn. Officials looked at the replay and put 1.6 seconds left, and Saluki coach Bryan Mullins went to a play the team runs at every game day walk-through. Domask hit the jumper, and ran back toward the other end of the court to celebrate with fans, and had to wait a few minutes to find out if it was even good.
A Saluki cheerleader was injured at the far corner of the court, and medical personnel were attending to her as the game officials were looking at the monitors to see if Domask's shot was in time. It was not clear if the cheerleader had been hurt in the celebration. Medical personnel wheeled the cheerleader out just after the game officials called the basket good, and left the court.
"I was trying to tell 'em myself that it was good," Domask said. "It felt like a long time."
Domask scored 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Eric McGill added 10 points for SIU (15-10, 9-3 Missouri Valley Conference), which stayed a game back of Northern Iowa in the league standings with six games to go.
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Josh Hall led Missouri State (11-14, 5-7) with 17 points and Gaige Prim had 16.
Benson's 14 first-half points led three Salukis in double figures to take a 43-41 lead at the half.
Benson made 5 of 7 from the field and both of his free-throw attempts, and Domask and McGill both added 10 points for SIU. The Salukis made 15 of 28 from the field in the first half (53.6%), including 6 of 11 from the 3-point line (54.5%), but had to rally at the Banterra Center. In front of the biggest crowd of the season, SIU went down 21-11 early but rallied to take a 22-21 lead.
Prim stole the show early for Missouri State, sinking a short jumper and a hook shot in the opening nine minutes. The junior college forward added two at the free-throw line to help the Bears jump out to a 21-11 lead with 12:13 to go in the half.
Harwin Francois, who had missed nine of his previous 10 shots over the last four games, got the Salukis back on the board with a 3-pointer on his first shot of the game from the left corner. Benson followed with two free throws, and by the time Lance Jones' jumper in the lane bounced off the back of the rim and fell through, SIU retook the lead 22-21 with an 11-0 run.
Jones added a free throw for a two-point lead, but Missouri State got the lead back with one shot. Black's 3-pointer from the left side started an 8-0 Bears run that put them up six, 29-23, with 5:50 to go.
Missouri State made 16 of 33 from the field (48.5%) in the opening half, including 7 of 15 from behind the arc (46.7%). The Bears had only three turnovers and outrebounded SIU 16-15. Tulio Da Silva had eight points and six boards, and Prim and Keandre Cook both scored six.
On Twitter: @THefferman
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