December 31, 2002
USI menís basketball looks to even road record this week
The University of Southern Indiana menís basketball team resumes Great Lakes Valley Conference action this week, trying to even its road record. The Screaming Eagles, who are 6-0 overall at the Physical Activities Center this year, are 0-2 in league play on the road.
USI will get its chance to bring its road record back to .500 when it plays at Lewis University Thursday, January 2, and at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Saturday, January 4. Lewis, 9-1 overall and 3-1 in the GLVC, was picked to finish second in the conference, while SIUE, 4-5 overall and 0-3 GLVC, was picked to place in the 10th in 2002-03.
The Eagles, who are 7-3 overall and 2-2 in conference action, have won five of their last six contests after starting the year 2-2. The USI squad won its holiday break tune-up, 86-63, over Lock Haven University Sunday at the PAC.
USI was led in the Lock Haven-victory by sophomore guard Cris Brunson (Evansville, Indiana) with 16 points. Junior forward Clarence Chillers (Chicago, Illinois) returned to action after missing two games with a sprained ankle to score 15 points off the bench.
For the season, USI senior forward Diondíre Givens (Mt. Vernon, Indiana) leads the squad with 17.6 points per game, 8.9 points above his career average. Givens has recorded double-figure scoring in nine of the ten games this season.
The Eagles are hoping that its leading rebounder, junior forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois), will be back in action this week after missing Sundayís game with an ankle sprain. Harris leads the squad with 7.4 rebounds per contest.
The Lewis University Flyers enters GLVC action on the heels of its 80-69 road victory over Northwood University. Junior forward Monta McGhee led the Flyers with 22 points and 13 rebounds Monday evening.
McGhee will lead a powerful frontcourt featuring junior center Austin Real, senior guard/forward Harley Piercy, and junior center Sidney Holmes against the Eagles. McGhee leads the team with 17.7 ppg, while ranking second with 8.1 rpg.
Real follows McGhee with 12.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg, while Piercy is tossing in 11.2 ppg off the bench and Holmes is scoring 10.5 ppg and grabbing a team-best 9.1 rpg.
Real and junior guard Demitrius Hunter were thorns in the Eaglesí side last season. Real averaged 12.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in two contests with the Eagles, while Hunter was close behind with 10.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg. Hunter is averaging 9.1 points and 6.0 assists for the Flyers this season.
USI leads the series with Lewis, 26-18, after splitting the season series last season.
The Cougars of SIUE are in their first season under the direction of head coach Marty Simmons, the former University of Evansville assistant coach. The Cougars are coming off a 68-66 victory over Oakland City University on Monday night and will play the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Thursday night before facing USI.
SIUE junior guard Ron Jones leads four players averaging in double figures with 13.9 ppg. Senior forward Ron Heflin is next in the scoring column for the Cougars with 11.9 ppg, while freshman forward Justin Ward is dropping in points at an11.7 clip and freshman guard/forward Logan Glosser is averaging 10.0 ppg.
Sophomore guard Rob Baumgardner and Heflin were SIUEís top scorers against USI last year. Baumgardner averaged 17.5 ppg and hit 52.2 percent of his shots, while Heflin recorded 16.0 ppg versus the Eagles in 2001-02.
USI has three players who should be looking forward to playing the Cougars. Senior guard David Ragland (Evansville, Indiana), Brunson, and Harris combined for 52.1 percent of USIís points against SIUE, hitting 55.0 percent from the field (33-60). Individually, Brunson averaged 19.5 ppg, while Harris averaged 15.5 ppg and 7.0 rpg and Ragland posted 14.0 ppg and 5.0 assists per game.
The Eagles lead the series with the Cougars, 36-15, after sweeping the season series last year. USI also has won t