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February 03, 2004

USI begins big three-game homestand this week
Eagles host Bellarmine for Saturday's Homecoming game

Game Notes

The 17th-ranked University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team begins a big three-game homestand when it hosts Northern Kentucky University Thursday, February 5, and Bellarmine University Saturday, February 7. The Screaming Eagles-Knights showdown Saturday evening is the USI Homecoming game.

Game times for both contests this week at the Physical Activities Center, are 7:30 p.m., following the women's 5:15 p.m. contests.

The Eagles, who fell to 17th in the national poll, begin this week's action tied for second in the GLVC and are three games behind front-running Lewis University. USI (16-4 overall, 9-4 GLVC) split its road games last week, defeating the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, 90-82, but falling to Saint Joseph's College, 83-80.

USI also is likely to remain fourth in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region poll this week. Last week, Lewis, who won both of its games last week, was first, followed by University of Indianapolis and Michigan Tech University. The top eight advance to the NCAA Division II Tournament at the end of the season with the number one seed hosting the regional. The next regional poll will be released Wednesday, February 4.

For the season, senior center John Oden (St. Louis, Missouri) leads the Eagles in scoring with 13.8 ppg and is second on the team with 6.6 rpg. Senior guard Joe Gordon (Palm Bay, Florida) is second on the team with 11.2 ppg, while junior center Randy Holbrook (St. Louis, Missouri) and senior forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois) are averaging 10.8 ppg and 10.7 ppg, respectively. Harris is pulling down a team-best 6.8 rpg.

The Norse of Northern Kentucky University (14-8 overall, 7-5 GLVC), who have won three in a row, will be the first to be welcomed to the PAC this week. The Norse captured the first meeting of the year with an 81-80 victory over USI in Highland Heights, Kentucky.

NKU junior guard Mike Kelsey led the Norse to victory in the first meeting with 24 points, while USI's Oden led all scorers with 31 points. Kelsey leads NKU for the season with 18.2 ppg and ranks fifth in the GLVC.

Despite losing the first round to NKU in January, USI leads the all-time series, 34-16, and has won six of the last 11 games.

For Homecoming, USI will welcome Bellarmine to the PAC for a rare 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening match-up. The Knights (7-13 overall and 4-9 GLVC), who have struggled over the last few weeks by losing five of their last seven, will begin the week at Kentucky Wesleyan College before coming to Evansville.

The Eagles and the Knights matched-up in the first GLVC game of the year back in November with USI winning 71-60. USI was led to victory by Holbrook, who had a team-high 16 points, while Bellarmine got a game-high 20 points from senior forward Bruce Johnson.

For the season, Johnson leads the Knights with 17.0 ppg, while senior guard Victor Pierson is averaging 14.6 ppg. Johnson's 17.0 ppg ranks eighth in the GLVC.

With the win back in November, USI leads the all-time series, 37-24, and has won nine of the last 10 dating back to 2000.

Following this week's action, the Eagles will have three home games (February 14, 26, and 28) and two road games (February 19 and 21) left on the regular season schedule.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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