January 13, 2009
USI-KWC match-up always a GLVC classic
GLVC's best rivalry set for Thursday evening
USI Game Notes; NABC Division II Top 25
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team plays only one game this week, but it may be one the biggest of the year so far as Kentucky Wesleyan College comes to the Physical Activities Center Thursday evening. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Screaming Eagles (15-3, 5-1 GLVC), who dropped to 12th in the latest NABC Division II Top 25 poll, return to the friendly surroundings of the PAC after seeing their nation's-best 14-game winning streak come to an end with a loss to fifth-ranked Bellarmine University Saturday in Louisville. USI was led in the loss by junior guard Jamar Smith (Peoria, Illinois), who had a season-best and game-high 21 points.
Smith has been on fire since joining the Eagles on December 30, averaging a team-leading 15.6 points per game off the bench.
In addition to Smith, three additional Eagles are averaging in double-figures. Junior forward Brandon Russ (Cincinnati, Ohio) follows Smith with 13.1 points per game, while senior forward Anthony Pimble (Bronx, New York) is dropping in 12.1 points per contest. Rounding out the double-figure scorers is junior guard Marvin Gray (Freeport, Bahamas) with 11.9 points per start.
USI, which starts a four-game homestand Thursday, has been perfect at the PAC this year, winning all 12 and extending the home-court winning streak to 14 games.
The Panthers of KWC (9-3, 2-3 GLVC) dropped out of the top 25, but received votes after losing at Bellarmine last Thursday, 69-48. KWC has lost its last two games after a stretch where it won nine of 10.
Thursday's game will be the 77th meeting between USI and KWC with the Panthers leading the all-time series, 43-33. USI, however, has won seven of the last eight games and the last seven that have involved the "Battle for the Bridge" trophy.
USI won the only game between the two teams last year in exciting fashion, 79-77, at the Sportscenter in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information