SIU wins MVC tournament

Monday, March 6, 2006

ST. LOUIS -- Southern Illinois was struggling entering the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, having dropped three of four.

So much for momentum.

Randal Falker's 17 points and career-high 16 rebounds powered a 59-46 victory over Bradley in the championship game on Sunday, leading the Salukis to their fifth straight berth in the NCAA tournament.

"Man, this is the greatest," said forward Matt Shaw, who scored 14 points. "This is what it's all about. Not many people gave us a chance, but we did."

Jamaal Tatum added 16 points for second-seeded Southern Illinois (22-10), which won the tournament for the first time since 1995.

Chris Lowery became the first member of the Valley to win a championship as player and coach. The point guard for Southern Illinois' championship teams in 1994 and '95, Lowery mentioned that to his team at halftime. The Salukis made it to the final after beating Northern Iowa in overtime in the semifinals.

Southern Illinois started the second half with a 17-2 run and ended Bradley's seven-game winning streak.

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