July 26, 2006
UE-USI basketball game set for November 4
Evansville's cross-town basketball series is ready to resume. Played for the first time two years ago, the exhibition re-match between the University of Evansville and University of Southern Indiana takes place Saturday, November 4 at Roberts Stadium. Game time is 7:05 for the Vectren Community Classic. Vectren, Kenny Kent Toyota and Kenny Kent Lexus are sponsoring the game.
"This was a great event for the community two years ago, and we look forward to another packed house at Roberts Stadium to watch the Purple Aces and Screaming Eagles," said Niel C. Ellerbrook, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Vectren Corporation. "We're very fortunate to have such quality institutions of higher learning in Evansville. Both schools have a significant impact on southwestern Indiana not only through athletics but also through academics, continuing education, cultural diversity, research and beyond."
Tickets go on sale to the public in mid-September. Season ticket holders will receive information soon regarding seating. The game two years ago did indeed attract a packed house. A sell-out crowd of 12,441 watched the Aces win 88-75. Matt Webster and Lucious Wagner scored 17 points each for the victorious Aces. Cris Brunson (15), David Bryant (14) and Chris Thompson (14) led the way for the Eagles. It was the first meeting ever between the two schools in basketball, and the first sell-out for a University of Evansville game since 1995.
"The atmosphere for the game two years ago was great, and I'm sure the fans will have fun again this year," according to Evansville head coach Steve Merfeld. "The reason we play exhibition games is to put our players in an environment similar to what they will face during the regular season, and this particular game certainly provides that kind of setting."
Added USI head coach Rick Herdes, "This match-up is a great way to start the basketball season. The first game in 2004 was everything local basketball fans had been asking for and this year's contest will be no different. The game will be very important in preparing the Screaming Eagles for the regular season, which begins six days later in the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic."
The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team is the definition of the word ‘consistent.' The Screaming Eagles have posted 14 straight 20-win seasons, have won 25 or more games each of the last four seasons, and have appeared in the NCAA Division II Tournament 13 of the last 14 years. They advanced to the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional Championship game nine times since 1994, won the national title in 1995, and appeared in the tournament finals in 1994 and 2004.
The 2006-07 season will mark USI's sixth season under the direction of Herdes, the winningest active coach in NCAA Division II with a winning percentage of .791 (129-34). He has won more games in his first five seasons at the helm than any coach in the history of the USI men's basketball program. Last year, Herdes' squad was 27-7 overall, won the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic, tied for first in the GLVC West Division with a 14-5 league mark, and appeared in the NCAA II Great Lakes Regional, advancing to the regional finals.
USI returns nine letterwinners and three starters, including Harrison High School's Melvin Hall. The senior guard set the USI single season record for 3-point field goals made (82) and was second on the team with a 13.2 scoring average.
The 2006-07 University of Evansville basketball team will have more experience than any of Merfeld's previous four teams at UE. All five starters return, led by three seniors who have been part of the starting lineup since their freshman season–forward Matt Webster, center Bradley Strickland and guard Kyle Anslinger.
Webster led the Aces in scoring (14.2) and rebounding (6.2), and needs only 74 points to reach 1,000 in his career. The 6-9 Strickland shot 56 percent to rank second in the