Salukis down Crusaders
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Tony Boyle scored a career-high 14 points -- all in the second half -- to help Southern Illinois to a 61-51 win over Holy Cross in a West Regional first-round game.
Boyle, a backup forward, took over after Matt Shaw injured his left ankle while going for a rebound at the very end of the first half.
Randal Falker finished with 12 points and eight rebounds for fourth-seeded Southern Illinois (28-6), which tied a school record for the most wins in a season. Matt Shaw added 11 points, Jamaal Tatum 10 and Bryan Mullins nine for the Salukis, who will face Virginia Tech in the second round.
Torey Thomas scored 15 points but shot just 3-of-16 for 13th-seeded Holy Cross (25-9), which had won 16 of its last 18 games including three wins in the Patriot League Tournament coming in. Tim Clifford had nine points and Alex Vander Baan grabbed 10 boards for the Crusaders.
Southern Illinois, which is known for its defense, suffocated the Crusaders all night. The Salukis limited Holy Cross to a 33 percent shooting effort and completely shut down Keith Simmons, the Patriot League's player of the year, who finished 0-for-5 from the field and managed only four free throws.
After falling behind 4-0, Holy Cross got the better of the play and took a 16-13 lead with 8:40 left before the break.
Southern Illinois, however, answered with a 15-5 run, capped by a Randal Falker dunk which gave the Salukis a 28-21 advantage late in the first half.
Southern Illinois led 30-25 at the intermission.
Thomas Torey brought the Crusaders within two, 31-29 with two free throws but Southern Illinois then reeled off seven straight points, capped by a Bryan Mullins triple putting the Salukis ahead, 38-29, with 12:43 to go.
Southern Illinois led by at least four points the rest of the way. The Salukis pulled away down the stretch thanks to Boyle who had a free throw and a layup that ended the Crusaders' last gasp.
Holy Cross won the national championship in 1947 with Bob Cousy, but hasn't won a tournament game since 1953, losing their last nine...This is Southern Illinois sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance and their highest ever seeding...The Salukis scored 24 points off 18 Holy Cross turnovers.
03/17 00:55:28 ET