January 20, 2004
USI concludes homestand this week
Tries for sweep of Quincy Meets improved SIUE squad
Current NABC/Division II Bulletin Top 25
The 14th-ranked University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team will conclude its short three-game homestand this week when it host Quincy University Thursday, January 22, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Saturday, January 24. Game time Thursday is 7:30 p.m., while Saturday has a 3:15 p.m. tip-off.
USI (13-3 overall, 6-3 GLVC) started the homestand by completing a rare regular season sweep of Kentucky Wesleyan College last week, 72-68. The Screaming Eagles were led by senior forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois), who came back after missing the Northern Kentucky University game with a knee injury to score 16 points and grab a game-high nine rebounds.
The sweep of the regular season series with KWC was the first for USI since 1999-2000 and broke the squad’s short two-game losing streak. Within the GLVC, USI is all alone in third place, three-games behind first place Lewis University and a game ahead of fourth place KWC.
Nationally, the victory helped to boost USI to 14th in the NABC/Division II Bulletin Top 25. The Eagles were joined in the top 25 by Lewis, which was 12th, and the University of Indianapolis, which fell to 13th this week.
For the season, senior center John Oden (St. Louis, Missouri) leads the Eagles with 15.4 ppg, which ranks 11th in the GLVC, and 7.1 rpg, which ranks 8th in the league. Oden also ranks fourth nationally in field goal percentage (statistics as of January 11).
Oden is followed in the scoring column by three USI players averaging in double figures. Senior guard Joe Gordon (Palm Bay, Florida) is second with 12.2 ppg, while junior center Randy Holbrook (St. Louis, Missouri) is scoring at an 11.2 ppg clip and Harris is dropping in 10.5 ppg.
The Eagles will try for their second series sweep of the year Thursday evening when Quincy comes to the Physical Activities Center. USI defeated the Hawks in the first meeting, 80-69, in Quincy back in December.
The Hawks (7-9 overall, 3-6 GLVC), who have lost three of their last four games, will be looking to get back on track after losing an overtime game to Bellarmine University, 74-69, last Saturday. Junior forward Cory Cummens leads the Hawks in scoring with 16.1 ppg, while senior guard Jamal Thompson is second with 10.2 ppg. Sophomore forward Jordan Ruth is the Hawks’ top player on the boards with 7.6 rpg.
After winning the first meeting of the season, USI leads the all-time series with Quincy, 15-4, and has won eight in a row since 2000.
The Eagles will see the Cougars of SIUE for the first time this year Saturday afternoon. The Cougars (9-7 overall and 5-5 GLVC) are much improved in 2003-04, having won as many games this season as they did all of 2002-03 in their first year under Head Coach Marty Simmons.
SIUE won its last game, defeating NKU, 81-75, in Edwardsville. The Cougars, who have won two of the last three and six of the last nine games, will play at KWC Thursday evening before coming to Evansville to play USI.
Senior guard Ron Jones leads four Cougars who average in double figure scoring with 13.2 ppg. Junior guard Tyler Hackstadt trails Jones with 12.4 ppg, while junior guard Calvin Sykes and junior forward Joel Jaye are averaging 10.8 ppg and 10.3 ppg, respectively.
USI leads the all-time series with SIUE, 38-15, and has won seven in a row since 2000
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information