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June 25, 2003

USI men’s basketball opens 2003-04 regular season on November 22

The curtain will rise on the 2003-04 regular season for the University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team when Lincoln University visits the Physical Activities Center on Saturday, November 22. Fans will be able to get an early look at the Screaming Eagles with exhibition games on Saturday, November 7, and Saturday, November 15.

For the first time since the 1996-97 season, the Eagles will be hosting a home tournament at the PAC. The USI Challenge, which is on Friday and Saturday, December 19-20, will feature the Eagles and the University of Indianapolis taking on Ferris State University and the University of North Alabama.

In addition to Lincoln and the USI Challenge on the non-conference schedule, the Eagles host Oakland City University on Tuesday, November 25 Henderson State University on Wednesday, December 10 the University of Illinois-Springfield on Saturday, December 13 and Tusculum College on Monday, December 29. Henderson State is coming off of a 30-5 campaign, reaching the finals of the NCAA Division II South Regional in 2002-03.

The 2003-04 GLVC campaign starts on the road for the second straight season, beginning at Bellarmine University on Saturday, November 29. This road trip also includes a visit to the Sportscenter to play Kentucky Wesleyan College on Monday, December 1. The first conference home game for the Eagles will not be until Friday, January 2, when Lewis University comes to the PAC.

Lewis will be the first of four NCAA II Tournament teams to visit the PAC after January 1. Kentucky Wesleyan journeys across the Ohio River on Thursday, January 15 followed by Northern Kentucky University on Thursday, February 5 and Indianapolis on Saturday, February 28. The top five teams in the GLVC had a combined overall record of 122-36 and a home record of 66-8 in 2002-03.

The exciting GLVC Tournament will once again be at Roberts Stadium in Evansville, running Thursday through Saturday, March 4-6. The 64-team NCAA Division II Tournament field will start play with regional action on Thursday, March 11, followed by the Elite Eight that will run Wednesday through Saturday, March 24-27, in Bakersfield, California

The Eagles return eight players from a team that was 25-7 overall in 2003-04. Leading the way is 6’4” senior forward/center Billy Harris, who was second team All-GLVC, NCAA II Great Lakes Regional All-Tournament, and posted a career high 12.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg. Also returning is honorable mention All-GLVC Cris Brunson, a 6’1” junior guard who averaged 12.7 ppg and had a team-best 91.0 shooting percentage from the charity strip.

Challenging for more playing time in 2003-04 is 6’6” senior forward Clarence Chillers and 6’8” senior center Reque Newsome. Chillers was GLVC All-Tournament, shooting an amazing 93.3 percent during the league tournament (14-15). Chillers, who posted 8.5 ppg and 5.8 rpg in 29 games, also averaged 13.3 ppg in the team’s final four games of 2002-03. Newsome came on slowly in 2002-03 after recovering from a preseason foot injury to average 6.7 ppg and 4.0 rpg off the bench.

One of the most exciting parts of the USI program in 2003-04 may be the return to the court of four redshirts. Back to game action will be 6’8” senior forward/center John Oden, a transfer from DePaul University 5’7” senior guard Avery Queen, a transfer from the University of Michigan 6’2” senior guard Joe Gordon, a transfer from the University of Miami and 5’11” sophomore guard Scott May, a transfer from Indiana University.

Also new to the squad in 2003-04 will be 6’4” redshirt freshman forward Carroll Coffman, who averaged 17.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg as a senior at Hopkins County High School in 2001-02, and 6’6” freshman guard/forward Geoff Van Winkle, who averaged 17.6 ppg and set the Forest Park High School career scoring record of 1,271 points and 187 three-point field goals in four seasons. Van Winkle also set a stat

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