January 27, 2004
Eagles optimistic about road trip
USI moves to 12th nationally
The 12th-ranked University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team hits the road for a pair of games, beginning with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Thursday, January 29, and concluding with Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, Saturday, January 31. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, while start time Saturday is 3 p.m.
USI should have a feeling of optimism about the road trip because it is a combined 14-1 on the road against UWP and SJC. The Eagles have won their last eight in Kenosha since 1993-94 and are 6-1 since 1996-97 in Rensselaer.
With a pair of wins last week, the Screaming Eagles (15-3, 8-3 GLVC) rose to 12th nationally in the NABC/Division II Bulletin Top 25. The Eagles passed the University of Indianapolis, which fell to 20th, and Lewis University, which fell to 15th.
Junior guard Cris Brunson’s (Evansville, Indiana) offensive emergence propelled the Eagles to last week’s victories. Brunson dished out a career-high six assists in the 70-67 win over Quincy University and posted a season-high 24 points as the Eagles cruised passed Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 86-62.
The 24-point performance propelled Brunson to 17th all-time at USI with 982 career points. He needs just 18 points to become the 17th USI player to reach 1,000 career points.
For the season, senior center John Oden (St. Louis, Missouri) leads the Eagles with 14.3 ppg, while senior forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois) is USI’s top rebounder with 6.6 rpg.
Oden, who follows Harris with 6.5 rpg, is followed in the scoring column by senior guard Joe Gordon (Palm Bay, Indiana) with 11.5 ppg junior center Randy Holbrook (St. Louis, Missouri) with 10.7 ppg and Harris with 10.5 ppg.
Thursday evening, the Eagles will be visiting a UWP squad that lost a pair on the road last week and has only won twice in it last six contests. The Rangers (6-11, 2-8 GLVC) are led by senior guard Dean Pogodzinski with 15.8 ppg and senior forward Dom Melton with 11.0 ppg.
The Eagles won the first meeting with the Rangers at the Physical Activities Center, 71-63. USI was led in the victory by freshman forward Geoff Van Winkle (Ferdinand, Indiana), who had 16 points, and Oden, who had 15 points. Pogodzinski posted a game-high 25 points, while senior forward Glen Barlow dropped in 15 points for UWP.
USI enters Thursday’s game with a 17-5 advantage in the all-time series against UWP and is 6-1 since 2000.
SJC (8-10, 4-7 GLVC) will welcome the Eagles to Rensselaer after hosting Kentucky Wesleyan College on Thursday. The Pumas have split their conference games last week and have lost three of their last four contests.
SJC senior forward Corey Seegers leads the Pumas and ranks second in the GLVC 20.0 ppg. He also leads SJC and ranks 11th in the GLVC with 6.1 rpg.
Saturday’s match-up will be the first of the season between USI and SJC. The Eagles lead the all-time series 36-16 and have won nine of the last nine meetings.
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information
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