Louis Meyer, Sports Editor
The University of Missouri–St. Louis Men’s Basketball team’s season came to an end last Thursday. The Tritons fell to Southern Indiana University by a score of 87-61. For the Tritons, it was a sad ending to an otherwise great season. In his sixth year as head coach, Bob Sundvold guided the Tritons to a 20-9 season. This was not only Sundvold’s best season as UMSL’s head coach, but it was the first time the team had won 20 games since the 1990-91 season.
The Tritons did not help themselves very much in the game, especially in the second half. The Tritons shot just 8.3 percent from behind the arc and just 25 percent from the field in the second half. The Tritons also turned the ball over 13 times, which Southern Indiana turned into 17 points. The Tritons finished the game shooting just 23.1 percent from behind the arc and 31 percent from the field. Southern Indiana on the other hand, shot 38.1 percent from behind the arc and 50.8 percent from the field. It is hard to win a game when the shooting percentages are that far apart. It just was not the Tritons’ night.
For two seniors, it was a bittersweet way to end their collegiate basketball careers. Johnathan Matthews, senior, communications and Eric Dust, senior, marketing, gave it their all, but ultimately came up short. Dust led all Tritons in scoring with 16 points, while Matthews was third in scoring with 13 points. The senior duo finished their last season at UMSL as the top two scorers on the team. Matthews finished the season averaging 13.1 points per game while Dust averaged 11.3. Together, Matthews and Dust accounted for 32.8 percent of the Tritons average points per game this season. Both of their presences on the court will be missed.
In an interview earlier in the season, both seniors were very optimistic about the future of the program. “I think coach has done a good job bringing in guys that can play and that want to learn,” said Matthews. “Coach has really done a good job bringing in a mix of guys that can do a variety of things and as they blend together, I think the results will speak for themselves,” said Dust. Both and Dust and Matthews also praised their younger teammates for being both patient and good at listening. Dust said, “I think our younger guys have done a great job listening to Bobo [Matthews] and I all season long, I think they will continue to get better as a result.”
For head coach Bob Sundvold, this season was his best work yet. After posting a 19-11 record during the 2014-15 season, Sundvold’s teams struggled. Over the next two seasons, the Tritons combined record was a lousy 23-34. Last season, however, Sundvold guided his team to a 14-13 record. On paper that does not seem impressive, but when you consider the team had 13 new players, it is very impressive. This season, Sundvold guided the Tritons to a 20-9 overall record. If you put this season together with last season, the Triton’s combined record is 34-22, which is almost a flipped record of the two previous seasons. With most of his players returning next season, one can only hope Sundvold can guide the Tritons to a GLVC conference championship in 2020.