I thought they were supposed to be "free"

NCAA First Round - Southern Illinois v Holy Cross
After SIU's 60-54 loss at Evansville, I could only think to myself "poor Tony Boyle."

The senior forward has had his fair share of ups and downs in his career as a Saluki.

He had the performance of his life in Southern's first round game against Holy Cross as he spelled an injured Matt Shaw. Boyle's big game helped spring SIU to its second Sweet Sixteen appearance in five years.

Then he's had games this season where he has been limited because of foul trouble and what not.

And then Saturday, in a game which the Salukis lost by six points, he missed five free-throw attempts.

Like a man, Boyle placed the blame on his own shoulders.

“I was just upset that I missed so many free throws,” Boyle said. “I just need to get in the gym and shoot more free throws. It’s something I need to work on.”

Boyle added that the team has not been able to practice its tired free throws partially because the team can't go as hard in practice as it has limited healthy bodies as the team goes past the midway point in Missouri Valley Conference play.

Still, Boyle, a 71 percent free-throw shooter, said he would do what was necessary to improve on his shooting from the charity stripe.

As a fan, that's all you can ask.

It is highly unlikely Boyle will become an NBA star. But as Saluki head coach Chris Lowery said, he doesn't have to play like one.

If Boyle can provide some steady play down the stretch, I would expect that to mean SIU will be playing in some sort of postseason tournament.