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March 11, 2006

Screaming Eagles open NCAA II Tournament with win
Herdes and Hall reach milestones

Box Score

RENSSELAER, Ind. The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team open the 2006 NCAA Division II Tournament with a 78-58 victory over Drury University in Rensselaer, Indiana, Saturday night. USI, ranked 17th nationally, raised its record to 26-6 overall, while Drury finishes the year 21-9.

The Screaming Eagles advance to the Great Lakes Regional semifinals on Sunday against top seeded and second-ranked Saint Joseph's College. Saint Joseph's advanced by defeating Ferris State University, 74-69. Game time Sunday is 7:30 p.m. (CST).

Rick Herdes

The victory was the 128th of Head Coach Rick Herdes, making him the winningest coach over a five-year span in the history of USI men's basketball program. Former USI Head Coach Bruce Pearl had won 127 games in his first five years.

USI senior guard Melvin Hall (Evansville, Indiana) led the Eagles in scoring with 17 points. Hall's three three-point field goals made him the USI single-season record holder with 80 in 2005-06. The previous record of 79 was set by Robin Clark in 1989-90.

Melvin Hall

Hall was followed in the scoring column by junior forward Geoff Van Winkle (Ferdinand, Indiana) with 15 points, including five three-point bombs. Senior forward Chris Thompson (Starke, Indiana) and senior guard Danny Gibson (Madison, Indiana) rounded out the double-figure scorers with 14 points and 11 points, respectively.

Thompson also led the Eagles with five steals, a career-best. Gibson also had three steals in the game and is three short of tying the school record of 66 set by former All-American and NCAA II Player of the Year Stan Gouard in 1994-95.

After Drury tied the score 2-2 to begin the game, USI took the lead and never looked back. The Eagles would build a pair of 13-point leads in the first half and extended the lead to 22 points in the second half.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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