For the second consecutive year, the SIU men’s basketball team’s season ended without a bid to a postseason tournament.
Southern’s 63-61 loss to Drake March 4 gave the team its first Thursday loss in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament since 1997.
The Salukis, who began the season 9-2, lost 13 of their last 19 games to finish the season 15-15 and 6-12 in the MVC, marking the second consecutive year SIU finished without a winning record.
Junior forward Carlton Fay said the Salukis, who finished the season 3-9 in conference games decided by five points or less, would need to learn how to win close games in order to have a successful season next year.
“Looking forward to next year, we know that it’s going to come down to finishing off games for us to be successful,” Fay said.
Southern is losing only Tony Freeman to graduation and could return as many as four starters and four key reserves to the team.
But Freeman will not be an easy player to replace. The University of Iowa transfer averaged 11.8 points and shot 41 percent from 3-point range.