ST. LOUIS — Kyle Weems scored on a driving shot in the lane with 1.4 seconds to go, capping top-seeded Missouri State's 11-0 closing run in a 58-56 victory over Southern Illinois on Friday in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Weems, the conference player of the year, scored all but one of his 14 points in the second half after missing all seven shots in the first half. He finished 5-for-15 but made his last three shots, two of them three-pointers.
Adam Leonard scored 20 points for Missouri State (24-7), with two of his five three-pointers coming in the finishing surge. The Bears beat eighth-seeded Southern Illinois for the third time despite shooting 33 percent.
Mamadou Seck had 15 points and 14 rebounds for Southern Illinois (13-19). Kendal Brown-Surles and Justin Bocot added 11 points apiece.
The Salukis' last points came with 2:48 to go when Bocot scored on a drive for a 56-47 lead.
Missouri State scored nine straight points on three-pointers, two by Leonard and one by Weems, to tie it with 46 seconds to go. Brown-Surles missed on a fadeaway off a drive with 15 seconds left, setting the stage for Missouri State's only lead.
The No. 8 seed has never beaten the top seed in conference tournament history.
Southern Illinois was 5-for-5 to open the game and shot 58 percent in the first half, leading by as many as 10 points. The Salukis had three nine-point leads after the break.
The Salukis beat Illinois State on Thursday night for their first conference tournament victory in four seasons but lost five of their last seven overall.
Missouri State is 8-5 when trailing at the half, overcoming a pair of double-digit leads earlier in the season. The Bears dug an early hole with a 2-for-14 start and shot 25 percent in the first half.