(AP) Southern Illinois has fired men’s basketball coach Chris Lowery after back-to-back losing seasons.

Athletic director Mario Moccia announced the decision Friday. The Salukis lost 66-51 to Indiana State in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament a day earlier and finished the season 8-23.

Lowery was 145-116 in eight seasons as coach. His teams made three NCAA tournament appearances, including the Sweet 16 in 2007.

But the Salukis haven’t been to the tournament since then and have had a losing record in three of their last four seasons. Moccia noted that SIU has lost six of the 11 players who made up what had been promising signing classes in 2008 and ’09 to transfers.

Lowery played at SIU in the early 1990s.

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