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December 24, 2003

USI goes for 11 in a row when it hosts Tusculum

The #1 ranked University of Southern Indiana menís basketball team will go for its 11th consecutive victory when it host Tusculum College for a 7:30 p.m. contest Tuesday, December 30, at the Physical Activities Center. The contest will be game five of USIís seven-game homestand.

The Screaming Eagles are 10-0 after winning a pair in the Sprint Challenge before the Christmas break. USI defeated the University of North Alabama, 93-75, and Ferris State University, 89-62. The 10-0 record matches the paces of the 1996-97 team that started the year 13-0 and the 2000-01 team that set the school record 16-0 start.

USI was led in the wins over UNA and FSU by senior center John Oden (St. Louis, Missouri), who was named the Sprint Player of the Game in both contests. Oden averaged 19.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg while shooting 78.9 percent (15-19) from the field and 75.0 percent (9-12) from the line.

For the season, junior center Randy Holbrook (St. Louis, Missouri) leads four USI players averaging in double figures with 15.0 ppg. Holbrook is followed by senior guard Joe Gordon (Palm Bay, Florida) with 13.5 ppg senior forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois) with 12.1 ppg and Oden with 11.7 ppg.

Harris, who is averaging 7.7 rpg, leads an Eagle team that is outrebounding its opponent 40.0 to 32.4 per game. Holbrook is one rebound a game behind Harris with 6.7 rpg, while Oden is pulling down 6.4 rpg.

The Eagles also are doing the job defensively, holding opponents to just 65.9 ppg and to a 38.3 percent (226-590) field goal percentage.

Tusculum comes to Evansville with an 8-2 overall record and a six-game winning streak. The Pioneers last played in the ConocoPhillips Classic hosted by the University of South Carolina-Aiken, defeating USCA, 84-68, on December 18 and Augusta State University, 91-78, on December 19.

For the season, senior guard Cliff Charles leads the Pioneers with 14.4 ppg and is second on the team with 6.8 rpg. Junior forward Brad Hawks is close behind Charles in the scoring column with 14.2 ppg and leads the team with 8.4 rpg.

TC junior guard Drew Harmon and junior forward Bobby Ewing round out the double-figure scorers with 10.8 ppg and 10.4 ppg, respectively.

USI leads the series with Tusculum, 1-0, by winning the only meeting back in 1986-87, 99-60, at the PAC. The Eagles were led in the victory by guard/forward JoJo Harris who had 22 points and forward Andre Jackson with 21 points. The Pioneers were paced by Robert McAlmont and Joe Harrinton with nine points each.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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