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March 27, 2004

Screaming Eaglesí season ends short of a national championship

The 13th-ranked University of Southern Indiana menís basketball teamís season ended in the NCAA Division II National Championship game with an 84-59 loss to 6th-ranked Kennesaw State University Saturday morning in Bakersfield, California. USI finishes its season with a 28-7 record, one victory short of school record and the national championship.

After a 10-2 run by USI to start the game, the Owls took control and used a dominating defense to silence an Eagles offense that had scored over 80 points the last two games. KSU forced USI into 24 turnovers and held the Eagles to just 36.8 percent from the field (21-57).

KSU led at the intermission, 30-24, and scored to start the second half to give them a 32-24 lead. Senior guard Joe Gordon (Palm Bay, Florida) hit a three-point field goal to get USI to within five, 32-27, but that is a close a the Eagles would get the remainder of the half.

The Eagles were led by junior center Randy Holbrook (St. Louis, Missouri), who had 15 points and 10 rebounds and was named USIís CBS Player of the Game. Senior center John Oden (St. Louis, Missouri) came off the bench to score 11 points to round out the USI double figure scorers.

Gordon and junior guard Cris Brunson (Evansville, Indiana) were named to the All-Tournament team. Brunson led USI in the Elite Eight with 16.3 ppg, while Gordon scored 15.7 ppg in the three contests.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information
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