March 01, 2005
USI begins post-season action Thursday
Top-seeded Eagles to play UMSL in first round
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team begins the 2005 post-season Thursday at 6 p.m. when its takes on the University of Missouri-St. Louis in the first round of the GLVC Tournament. USI is the top seed in the tournament, while UMSL is the eighth seed.
The Screaming Eagles (23-4, 18-2 GLVC), who rose to fourth in the NABC/Division II Top 25, enter the tournament on a 13-game winning streak. USI finished the regular season by sweeping a four-game road swing, including a win over Kentucky Wesleyan College at the Sportscenter to sew-up the GLVC regular season crown.
USI senior guard Cris Brunson (Evansville, Indiana) led the squad during the road trip with 17.3 ppg, while senior forward/center Randy Holbrook (St. Louis, Missouri) posted 15.0 ppg despite missing the last two games of the trip. Senior center Reque Newsome (St. Petersburg, Florida) rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11.0 ppg.
Brunson has had the hot hand during the USI road trip, averaging 14.8 ppg, 3.4 points higher than his season average. He also is averaging over two three-point field goals a game.
For the season, Holbrook leads the USI scoring column with 15.9 ppg. Junior forward Chris Thompson (Starke, Florida) follows Holbrook with 11.9 ppg and a team-best 9.5 rpg. Brunson rounds out the double-figure scorers with 11.4 ppg.
Beginning with UMSL, USI will be looking to capture its first GLVC Tournament championship since the tournament began in 1998. The Eagles have finished second four times and reached a minimum of the semifinals each year.
In addition to UMSL, USI’s bracket includes fourth seeded Quincy University (18-9, 14-6 GLVC) and fifth-seeded Saint Joseph’s College (16-11, 11-9 GLVC). The opposite bracket includes second-seeded Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (22-7, 15-5 GLVC), who will play seventh-seeded University of Wisconsin-Parkside (10-17, 7-13 GLVC), and third-seeded University of Indianapolis (19-8, 14-6 GLVC), who takes on sixth-seeded Northern Kentucky University (12-14, 8-12 GLVC).
UMSL (9-18, 5-15 GLVC) enters the tournament after going .500 in its last six games, including a 78-51 loss to USI in St. Louis two weeks ago. Junior guard Jonathan Griffin leads the Rivermen with 19.3 ppg and 6.0 rpg.
With the two-game sweep of the regular season series, USI leads the all-time series, 20-10, and has won 10 of the last 11 meetings.
Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information