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February 18, 2006

USI loses battle of 10th ranked teams

#10 Southern Indiana (23-5, 12-5 GLVC): 63
@#10 SIU Edwardsville (21-4, 13-4GLVC): 67

Box Score

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team lost the battle of the Division II 10th-ranked teams, falling to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 67-63, in Edwardsville, Illinois, Saturday afternoon. USI drops to 23-5 overall and 12-5 in the GLVC, while SIUE goes to 21-4 overall, 13-4 GLVC.

The Screaming Eagles, who falls into a tie for third in the GLVC's West Division, finishes the final road trip of the year 0-2. The last time USI lost two in a row on the road was January of 2004. The Eagles went on to play in the NCAA Division II Tournament finals that year.

USI had control of the game in the first half, leading by 13 points early, 19-6, and by 12 points, 29-17, with 3:14 before halftime. The Eagles held onto a one point lead, 30-29, as the Cougars went on a 12-1 run in the final minutes before the intermission.

With the score tied 42-42 with 12:28 to play, SIUE took control of the game with a 14-4 run to lead 56-46 in the second half. USI whittled away at the lead until senior forward Chris Thompson (Starke, Florida) tied the score, 61-61, with a pair of free throws with 1:10 left to play.

SIUE's junior forward Mike Hardiek gave the Cougars the lead for good 19 seconds later on a jumper in the paint. The Cougars would seal the victory when senior guard Ryan Belcher hit four of six free throws in the final 25 seconds to make the score 67-63.

USI was led in the game by junior forward Keith Christmas (Gary, Indiana), who had 12 points, and senior guard David Bryant (Louisville, Kentucky), who had 10 points. Thompson, who was held to eight points, fouled out along with Christmas and junior guard/forward Marty Wise (New Orleans, Louisiana).

The Eagles will conclude the regular season portion of the 2005-06 campaign at the Physical Activities Center when they host the University of Missouri-Rolla on February 23 and the University of Missouri-St. Louis on February 25. The USI-UMSL match-up will be Senior Day for the Eagles.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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