M bball: Mission accomplished

By Gus Bode

Saluki coach Chris Lowery has said all season that the SIU men’s basketball team was focusing on winning the Missouri Valley Conference championship in 2007.

The Salukis did just that Wednesday with their 58-50 win at Indiana State. This marks the fifth time in SIU history the Salukis have won the Valley in the regular season and the second time in Lowery’s three seasons as head coach at SIU.

Lowery said a number of Salukis were crying, namely senior guards Jamaal Tatum and Tony Young.


“It was so emotional because we really put everything into this season for those two guys,” Lowery said.

“Man, it just feels good to know that we actually won it again,” Young said.

Creighton (18-10, 12-5) lost 65-55 Tuesday at Illinois State to open the door for SIU to win the MVC regular season title with a win.

Lowery has said all season that the underclassmen on the Salukis were fighting to help Tatum and Young to win the MVC title.

“I wanted it to be very, very clear that those younger guys and the junior class were going to play for these guys,” Lowery said. “I think it’s about trust and I just told them that you guys got to really trust me and listen and it started with those two. They listened to me more this year than they ever have.”

Young scored 15 points, tying with Tatum for the team high. The win was Young’s 102nd with the Salukis, and the all-time record is 104.

“It feels good,” Young said. “Like I always tell coach, I love to win. I’m a selfish dude when it comes to that.


“It feels good just to hear those numbers.”

The win at Indiana State sets up senior night for SIU, which will be Saturday at 7:30 p.m., when the Salukis host Evansville.

Young said the game against the Sycamores – his and Tatum’s last regular season road games with the Salukis – was already an emotional experience.

“We’re not done yet,” Young said. “It was emotional for us tonight. Saturday’s going to be crazy.”