UMSL Men’s hoops fall in D-II Elite 8 ending historic run

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:42 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - On Tuesday night, the University of Missouri-St. Louis Men’s Basketball team had quite the task ahead of them. Take down the top-seeded team in the NCAA Men’s Division II Elite Eight. The Nova Southeastern Sharks are not only the top seed in the tournament, they are the top team in the country in D-II and undefeated. That didn’t stop UMSL from trying to continue making history.

In a back and forth game that saw UMSL lead for the majority of the second half, the Sharks showed why they’re the best of the best. An 8-0 run late in the second half would help Nova Southeastern avoid an epic upset. The Tritons fell to the Sharks, 82-75. While the Tritons suffered a tough defeat in the Elite 8, it doesn’t erase the amazing season they’ve had.

Last season, the school brought back the last Triton Men’s Basketball team to make an Elite 8. It was their 50th anniversary. Now the 2022-23 Tritons squad can say they’ve done the same. As you can imagine, the wounds of that tough loss are fresh, but down the line the guys know they will truly cherish this amazing accomplishment.

“Yea it’s a bit of a juxtaposition, you know? Because on one hand that has never been done before or hasn’t been done in 51 years, but on the other hand you feel that you’re so close,” said forward Drew Cisse. “It’s just like putting that into perspective. I’m sure in a few weeks time we’ll be able to properly appreciate what we’ve done, but right now it’s a little bit of a sour taste.”

Cisse came on late and became a force for the Tritons down the stretch and continued that solid play Tuesday night. He’d finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks vs. Nova Southeastern.

He wasn’t the only one who made his mark. Guard Bo Sandquist got hot from deep early. He finished with 15 points; shooting 5-8 from the 3-point line. Looking back, he’s impressed by what his team accomplished.

“What we did was pretty incredible, you know? Being part of a program that bought in 14 new guys and turned it into an incredible season like that is almost unheard of,” said Sandquist. “I’m just so appreciative for my coaches and my teammates for giving me the opportunity to come and spend my last year of basketball here.”

Between transfers and freshmen, the Tritons welcome 14 new players on this year’s team. With some guys out of eligibility and others with decisions to make, this team could look different next season. Nevertheless, the Tritons march on and prepare for another run at history next season.