March 14, 2009
USI starts NCAA Tournament with win over Rockhurst
Herdes gets win number 200
#19 Southern Indiana (27-6): 78; Rockhurst (19-11) 72
– University of Southern Indiana Head Coach Rick Herdes
won his 200th game as the Screaming Eagles opened NCAA Division II Tournament action with a 78-72 win over Rockhurst University Saturday evening in Findlay, Ohio. USI raises its record 27-6 overall, while Rockhurst finishes the year 19-11.
Herdes, who is 200-58 (.775) in eight season, is second all-time at USI in career wins and is only 31 victories behind former head coach Bruce Pearl, who was 231-46 in nine seasons at the helm.
The Screaming Eagles and the Hawks battled to a 36-36 draw at the intermission. The first 20 minutes featured nine lead changes and five ties, while Rockhurst's 20-15 lead was the largest margin of the half.
USI was led in the opening half by junior forward/center Jeron Lewis
(Ft. Wayne, Indiana), who had eight points, and senior forward Anthony Pimble
(Bronx, New York) with seven points. The Eagles also controlled the boards in the first half, outrebounding the Hawks, 20-9.
The squads traded buckets for the first six minutes of the second half before the Hawks went on an 8-0 run to lead 53-45 with 12:31 to play. The Eagles broke the run and went on a 10-2 run of their own to equal the score at 55-55.
Once again the teams battled back-and-forth and were tied 62-62 with just over three minutes to play when USI started to pull away. The Eagles built their largest lead of the game to that point, 72-64, with a 10-2 run and held off the Hawks for the final minute with clutch free throw shooting by Pimble, junior forward Isaac Stoll
(Washington, Indiana), junior guard Jamar Smith
(Peoria, Illinois) and junior guard Kevin Gant
The four players were a combined eight of nine from the charity stripe in the final minute, led by Smith's four-of-four.
The Eagles would extend the lead to nine points, 78-69, before Rockhurst hit a three with four seconds for the 78-72 final. The nine-point margin was the largest of the game for USI.
At the end of the game there were 19 lead changes and 12 ties.
Individually, USI was led by Smith, who had 21 points, and Lewis, who dropped in 13 points. Pimble and junior forward Brandon Carr
(Baltimore, Maryland) rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points each.
On the glass, Pimble and Lewis led the Eagles with 12 rebounds each. The double-doubles were the first of the season for both players.
The Eagles continue Midwest Regional action Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. (CDT) when they play number-one ranked and host University of Findlay. Findlay remained perfect in 2008-09 at 31-0 with a 66-51 victory over Grand Valley State University.
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information