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February 23, 2002

Eagles hit wall at #1 KWC

@ #1 Kentucky Wesleyan College (25-1 overall, 19-1 GLVC): 96
University of Southern Indiana (21-7 overall, 14-6 GLVC): 68

The University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team hit a brick wall in its rematch with top-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan College this evening at the Sportscenter in Owensboro, Kentucky. The Panthers slapped the Screaming Eagles with a 96-68 loss, dropping USI to the fourth seed in the upcoming Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament.

USI, which ends its 2001-02 regular season with a 21-6 overall record and a 14-6 GLVC record, hung tough with the Panthers for a better part of the first half—pulling to within three points at the 7:20 mark. However the Panthers used an 18-4 run to extend its lead propel them to a 48-33 halftime lead.

The Panthers (25-1 overall, 19-1 GLVC) shot 52.9 percent from the floor in the first stanza, including 6-of-12 from behind the arc, while the Eagles shot just 41.7 percent from the floor in the first period, including a dismal 1-of-10 from three-point land.

USI saw the Panthers sprint out of the gates early in the second half as it found itself down by 23 with 15:54 to go in regulation. The Eagles chipped into the deficit, cutting the KWC lead to 69-54 with 10:56 to go in the game.

However, 11-second half turnovers cost the Eagles as they watched the Panthers build onto their lead and slam the door on a USI squad that was vying for the third seed in the conference tournament.

Sophomore forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois) led the Eagles with 18 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field. Harris also connected on 4-of-4 shots from behind the arc and pulled down seven rebounds.

The Panthers held GLVC “Freshman of the Year” candidate Cris Brunson (Evansville, Indiana) in check. Brunson was held to just four points after being pitted against GLVC “Player of the Year” candidate Ronald Evans, who finished with a game-high tying 24 points.

The Eagles will face the University of Indianapolis, which enters with the fifth seed in the conference tournament, Thursday, February 28, in the first round of the GLVC Tournament. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Roberts Stadium in Evansville, Indiana.

Dan McDonnell,
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