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November 07, 2005

Screaming Eagles fly south to Disney
USI to play Caldwell in first round of Division II Tip-Off Classic

EVANSVILLE, Ind. The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team will open the 2005-06 regular season by flying south to play in the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic November 11-13. The Screaming Eagles play Caldwell College in the first round Friday at 5 p.m. (CST).

This will be the third appearance in the Tip-Off Classic by the Eagles. USI won the inaugural Tip-Off Classic in 1997, while placing third in 2001.

USI begins this year's campaign in search of its 14th straight 20-win season and its13th NCAA Division II Tournament appearance in 14 years. Head Coach Rick Herdes, who is 102-27 in four seasons at the helm, needs just 10 victories to surpass Wayne Boultinghouse for second on USI's all-time wins list.

The Eagles began the season last week, losing an exhibition game at the University of Tennessee, 86-78. Senior forward Chris Thompson (Starke, Florida) led USI in the loss with a double-double, 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Thompson, who is USI's top returning scorer with 11.3 ppg and 9.2 rpg in 2004-05, was followed in the scoring column by senior guard David Bryant (Louisville, Indiana) with 13 points. Newcomers Nick Brooks (Robinson, Illinois), a junior forward, and Keith Christmas (Gary, Indiana), a junior forward/center, rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11 points and 10 points, respectively.

Caldwell will play its first game of the year, exhibition or regular season, Friday against the Eagles. Caldwell (17-15) and USI are joined in the lower bracket by the University of Nebraska-Omaha (23-6) and Presbyterian College (18-11).

In the top half of the bracket, the Tip-Off Classic includes Philadelphia University (21-9) Columbus State University (23-9) the University of Bridgeport (21-9) and the University of Alaska-Anchorage (11-16).

USI, Nebraska-Omaha, and Columbus State were in the 2005 NCAA Division II Tournament last spring. Nebraska-Omaha returns three starters from a team that lost in the first round last March, while Columbus State returns one starter after stumbling in the second round of last year's tournament.

After the Eagles return from Florida, USI will play an exhibition game at the University of Louisville November 20. The Eagles are scheduled to open the 2005-06 home schedule November 22 when they host Robert Morris College.

USI ranked 11th in Basketball Times poll

EVANSVILLE, Ind. The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team was ranked 11th in the Basketball Times Division II Preseason Top-20 poll. The Screaming Eagles were ranked 10th in the Division II Bulletin in October. USI was the only GLVC school in the poll, but was joined by Ferris State University and the University of Findlay from the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region. FSU was ranked 16th, while Findlay was 20th.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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