November 07, 2008
USI opens Tip-Off Classic with thrilling overtime win
Eagles comeback from large deficits in victory
Southern Indiana (1-0) 99, Saint Martin's (0-1) 95 (ot)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.
– The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team opened the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic with a thrilling 99-95 overtime victory over Saint Martin's University Friday afternoon at the Milk House in Disney's Wide World of Sports. The Screaming Eagles open the season with a win for the 23rd straight year.
In a game of swings from one team to the other, it was the Eagles' final run in overtime that earned them the victory. USI (1-0) outscored Saint Martin's, 13-9, in the extra period after allowing the Saint (0-1) to take a 94-90 lead.
To get to overtime, the Eagles had to come back from an 11-point second half deficit, 45-34, and a five-point margin, 86-81, with under a minute to play. USI senior guard Kenny Love
(South Bend, Indiana) hit a three-pointer with 42 second left in regulation to pull the Eagles to within two, 86-84, followed by junior guard Marvin Gray
(Bahamas) stealing the ball and driving in for a tying lay-up with 38 seconds left.
The Saints had the advantage early, jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes. The Eagles battled back and took their first lead of the game, 13-12, on a pair of free throws by junior forward/center George Cunningham
(San Diego, California).
The team's would trade leads for the remainder of the first half before Saint Martin's took a six-point lead, 40-36, into the intermission.
Saint Martin's extended their halftime lead to 11 points to start the second half when USI put together a 33-15 run to take a 67-60 lead with 9:47 left. The Saints responded with a 16-4 run and retook the lead 76-71 with 5:41 to play.
Love led six Eagles to score in double figures with 19 points, hitting five three-point field goals. He was followed by senior forward Anthony Pimble
(Bronx, New York) and junior forward/center Brandon Russ
(Cincinnati, Ohio) with 13 points and 12 points, respectively. Gray, junior forward Jeron Lewis
(Ft. Wayne, Indiana), and junior forward Tyrone Bradshaw
(Cincinnati, Ohio) rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points each.
USI also was led statistically by Russ, who had six rebounds; Bradshaw, who blocked five shots; and Gray, who dished out eight assists.
The Eagles resume Tip-Off Classic action Saturday at 1:30 p.m. when they play eighth-ranked Minnesota State University. Minnesota State started its season by playing third-ranked Bentley University Friday afternoon. Score was unavailable at press time.
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information