January 13, 2004
USI hosts KWC for its only game this week
The 16th-ranked University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team hopes a return to the friendly confines of the Physical Activities Center will help it get back on track when it hosts cross-river rival Kentucky Wesleyan College Thursday, January 15. Game time is 7:30 p.m., following the women's game that tips-off at 5:15 p.m.
The Screaming Eagles (12-3 overall and 5-3 in the GLVC) have lost three of last four games, including both of the games on last weekend's road trip.
Part of USI's problem has been spotting the opposition a double-digit lead in the first half of five of the last nine contests. Over the weekend, USI trailed the University of Indianapolis by 16 points and Northern Kentucky University by 10 points in the first half, losing both games by one point.
The one bright spot of the entire road trip was the increased offensive production of senior center John Oden (St. Louis, Missouri). Oden averaged 26.5 points in the two games, including a 31 point effort against Northern Kentucky.
For the season, Oden leads four Eagles in double figures with 16.3 ppg and 7.1 rpg. Senior guard Joe Gordon (Palm Bay, Florida) follows Oden with 12.2 ppg, while junior center Randy Holbrook (St. Louis, Missouri) is scoring at an 11.8 ppg pace and senior forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois) is dropping in 10.1 ppg.
The Panthers of KWC enter Thursday's game with a 7-4 overall record and a 4-3 GLVC mark. Also, KWC will be unranked in a game with USI for the first time since 1996-97.
The Panthers put themselves back in to the conference race by sweeping their road trip last week. They defeated NKU, 67-66, and Bellarmine University, 89-63.
For the season, junior Dontae Truitt leads the Panthers and ranks third in the GLVC with 20.0 ppg. He is followed by senior center Eric Freeman, this week's GLVC Player of the Week with 16.4 ppg and 8.1 rpg.
USI won the first meeting of the year, 78-65, at the Sportscenter, winning on the road against the Panthers for the first time since the1999-2000 season. KWC leads the all-time series, 42-26, and has won eight of 12 meetings since 2000.
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information