January 24, 2006
USI starts two-game homestand Thursday
#8 Screaming Eagles to host #3 Pumas Saturday
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team begins an important two-game homestand when it hosts the University of Indianapolis Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and third-ranked Saint Joseph's College Saturday at 3:15 p.m.
The Screaming Eagles (19-2, 8-2 GLVC) begin the week with a half-game lead over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the GLVC's West Division and moved to eighth in the NABC Division II Top-25. USI also ranks first in the GLVC and first in the NCAA II in field goal percentage.
Last week, the Eagles reached 19 victories with a sweep of Drury University, 69-65, and Rockhurst University, 87-64, on the road. USI reached 19 wins in just 21 games for the third time in the history of the program and the first time since 2000-01 when the squad won 26 of 28 games.
USI needs one more victory to reach the magical number 20, which is considered the first step toward a berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Eagles will have won 20 or more in 14 straight years with a victory this week and are in search of a 13th appearance in the NCAA II Tournament in the last 14 years.
Leading the way for the Eagles is the senior GLVC Player of the Week, Chris Thompson (Starke, Florida). Thompson led USI on the road last week with 21.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg, while shooting 72.7 percent from the field (16-22).
For the season, Thompson leads the team and ranks second in the GLVC with 19.2 ppg and 9.1 rpg. Junior guard Melvin Hall (Evansville, Indiana) follows Thompson in the scoring column with 14.9 ppg after scoring a game-high 27 points in the victory over Rockhurst.
The Greyhounds of Indianapolis (2-15, 1-8 GLVC) have had a rough season and currently sit in last place in the GLVC's East Division. Indianapolis has lost seven straight after losing to Bellarmine University Tuesday night, 58-57.
USI leads the all-time series with Indianapolis, 42-14, and has won 10 of the last 12 since 2000. The Eagles also swept the Greyhounds last year, winning 87-66 at the Physical Activities Center and 80-77 in Indianapolis.
The Pumas of Saint Joseph's (17-1, 7-1) rose to third nationally this week and lead the GLVC's East Division by one game over Northern Kentucky University. Saint Joseph's also was the top team in the first NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional poll last week.
The Pumas started 2005-06 with 12 straight wins before falling on the road to SIUE and is currently on a five-game streak.
Senior guard/forward Sullivan Sykes leads the Pumas and ranks third in the GLVC with 17.3 ppg, while senior forward Derek Fey is the best in the league in rebounding with 9.4 rpg.
USI leads the all-time series with Saint Joseph's, 39-18, and has won 11 of the last 13 meetings since 2000. The Eagles took two-of-three from the Pumas last year, winnining the rubber-game in the GLVC Tournament semi-finals, 102-71.
NABC Division II Top 25
1. Montevallo (8), 18-1
2. Western Washington, 15-1
3. Saint Joseph's, 17-1
4. Southwest Baptist, 17-1
5. Virginia Union, 12-2
6. Fort Hays State, 16-1
7. Seattle Pacific, 14-2
8. Southern Indiana, 19-2
9. Findlay, 16-2
10. Barton, 12-1
11. Delta State, 15-1
12. Alabama-Huntsville, 16-2
13. Northern State, 15-2
14. Johnson C. Smith, 13-3
15. Grand Canyon, 15-3
16. Winona State, 14-4
17. Minnesota State-Mankato, 17-3
18. Mount Olive, 13-3
Northwest Missouri State, 15-3
20. Alderson-Broaddus, 12-2
21. Grand Valley State, 15-3
22. West Virginia State, 14-3
23. Stonehill, 14-3
24. Saint Rose, 15-4
25. Tarleton State, 14-4
Others receiving votes for the top 25:
SIU Edwardsville 14, Ashland 6, Truman 2, West Liberty State 2, Chaminade 1, Massachusetts-Lowell 1.
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information