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February 25, 2003

USI wants to secure tournament slot with two on the road

The University of Southern Indiana menís basketball team can clinch the number two seed in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament with a pair of victories on the road this week. USI finishes the 2002-03 regular season at Quincy University Thursday, February 27, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis Saturday, March 1.

The menís basketball GLVC Tournament is scheduled for Thursday, March 6, through Saturday, March 8.

The 20th-ranked Screaming Eagles, 20-5 overall and 14-4 in the GLVC, are on a five-game winning streak after defeating the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and 12th-ranked Lewis University last week. Junior center Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois) and sophomore guard Cris Brunson (Evansville, Indiana) led the team last week with 15.5 ppg each.

Harris also led the team on the boards with 7.0 rpg and became the 10th USI player to grab 500 career rebounds.

For the season, senior forward Diondíre Givens (Mt. Vernon, Indiana) leads the team with 15.0 ppg. Givens is followed by Brunson at 13.6 ppg and Harris at 12.8 ppg.

The Eagles have been on a roll since the falling to Lewis on January 2. USI has won 13 of its last 14 games, 12 of 13 in the league, and has moved from the lower half of the GLVC to a number two position. In the last three weeks, USI was 4-1 against the top six teams in the GLVC.

With two wins this week, the Eagles will be the number two seed in the GLVC Tournament. Of the three teams in contention for the number two seed, USI has the tie-breaker over Northern Kentucky University, while Lewis has the tie-breaker over USI. Lewis plays at NKU Saturday to decide the last tie-breaker.

First up for the Eagles this week is Quincy University, which is 12-13 overall and seventh in the GLVC with a 6-12 league record. The Hawks are coming off a 76-69 home victory over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, led by the 23 point and 11 rebound performance of freshman forward Jordan Roth.

For the season, Quincy sophomore forward Cory Cummens leads with 13.2 ppg. He is followed by junior center Phil Gettinger (11.3 ppg) and senior center Brian McNeil (10.5 ppg). Gettinger and McNeil lead the Hawks on the boards with 5.2 rpg each.

In the first meeting of the year, USI defeated Quincy, 90-83, at the Physical Activities Center on February 1. Harris and Brunson led the Eagles with 18 points each, while the Hawks were led by McNeil and Cummens with 17 points each.

The Eagles lead the series with the Hawks, 13-4, and have won the last eight between the two institutions. USI also has won the last two in Quincy.

Saturdayís game is the 2002-03 regular season finale for both USI and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The Rivermen are last in the league with a 5-20 overall record and 2-17 mark in the GLVC. UMSL is mired in a 17-game losing streak after losing twice last week.

For the season, the Rivermen are led by junior guard Ronnie Banks with 10.4 ppg.

The Eagles won the first meeting of the year, 85-61, at the PAC in January. USI was led by Givens with 17 points, followed by Brunson and junior forward Clarence Chillers (Chicago, Illinois) with 13 points each. The Rivermen were led in the losing effort by the 14 points of freshman guard Jonathan Griffin and 13 points of senior forward Mindaugas Adamonis.

USI leads the series with the Rivermen, 15-10, and has won the last two. UMSL, however, did win the last game with the Eagles at the Mark Twain Center.

Game times this week are 7:30 p.m. Thursday evening and 3:15 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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