November 07, 2006
Eagles fly south to defend title
Game Notes for Disney Tip-Off Classic
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team flies south Thursday to defend their Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic title November 10-12 at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. The Screaming Eagles start Division II's version of the Preseason NIT against North Georgia College and State University Friday at 5:30 p.m. (CST).
USI completes the round-robin tournament against Pace University and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The games, which both start at 3:30 p.m. (CST), will be the first meeting between USI and its opponents in the history of the men's basketball program.
The Eagles were the first team to win a second Tip-Off Classic championship last year and are making their fourth appearance in the tournament. USI has an 8-1 record in its three previous tournament appearances.
In addition to its quest for a second consecutive Tip-Off Classic championship, the Eagles also are looking to begin the regular season with a victory for the 20th consecutive season.
On the line in 2006-07 for the Eagles are the consecutive streaks of three straight seasons of 27 or more victories four consecutive years of 25 or more wins and 14 straight years of 20 or more wins. USI, who was picked to win the GLVC West Division, also is trying to reach the NCAA Division II Tournament for the 14th time in 15 years.
In the only USI exhibition game of the preseason, the Eagles lost a heartbreaker to the University of Evansville, 77-75, at Roberts Stadium. USI had great performances from three newcomers – senior center Rashard Sullivan
(Miami, Florida), 15 points and eight rebounds junior guard Kenny Page
(Indianapolis, Indiana), 14 points and nine assists and junior guard Kenny Love
(South Bend, Indiana), 12 points.
North Georgia was 14-12 in 2005-06 after finishing the year on a four-game losing streak. The top returner for the Saints is sophomore center Anthony Rowe, who averaged 8.5 points per game (ppg) and 6.5 rebounds per game (rpg).
Pace finished last year under .500 with a 12-16 mark and lost six of its last seven games. The Pacesetters have their top scorer returning for this year in junior guard Ryan Williams, who averaged 16.1 ppg.
Alaska-Fairbanks is the only team to have already played a pair of regular season games, winning twice over Lanaster Bible College, 91-58 and 125-61. The Nanooks were 17-10 last season and missed the NCAA II Tournament after Sweet 16 appearances in 2004 and 2005.
The only starter to return for the Nanooks is junior guard Kenny Baker, who averaged 12.6 ppg and 3.3 assists in 2005-06.
Following the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic, the Eagles return to Evansville t