DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Ben Simons returned from a five-game absence to score 14 points, leading Drake to a 78-63 victory over Southern Illinois on Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs (16-13, 9-8 Missouri Valley) had lost three of their last five games without Simons, the team's leading scorer, who was sidelined with mononucleosis. Rayvonte Rice led Drake with 19 points.
Mamadou Seck scored 20 points and Jeff Early 18 for the Salukis (8-21, 5-12). Forward Dantiel Daniels, one of the MVC's top freshmen, left the game midway through the first half with a knee injury and did not return.
Drake moved into a tie for third in the MVC standings with Missouri State, which lost to Indiana State on Wednesday. However, the Bears hold the tiebreaker due to their season sweep of the Bulldogs.
Southern Illinois, which is locked into the No. 9 seed in next week's MVC tournament, set a school record for losses in a season.