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November 04, 2006

Eagles lose heart-breaker

at Evansville (1-0 Exhibition): 77
Southern Indiana (0-1 Exhibition): 75
Box Score

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team lost to the University of Evansville, 77-75, in an exhibition thriller Saturday night at Roberts Stadium.

In a game that featured six lead changes and five ties, USI (0-1 Exhibition) battled back from a 10-point halftime deficit to take a six-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

Evansville (1-0 Exhibition), however, used a 12-4 run during the next three-and-a-half minutes to take a 67-65 lead. The two teams traded baskets during the next minute, but the Purple Aces used a 6-0 run to build a 74-68 advantage with less than two minutes to play.

A three-point play by senior forward/center Rashard Sullivan (Miami, Florida) cut the Aces' lead in half with less than 40 seconds remaining on the clock.

After a free throw by UE sophomore guard Jason Holsinger extended the UE lead to four, USI senior forward Geoff Van Winkle (Ferdinand, Indiana) answered with his second three-pointer of the game to bring the Screaming Eagles to within a point.

Down by two with 13 seconds remaining, the Eagles had possession of the ball with an opportunity to tie or win the contest in the closing seconds. Junior guard Kenny Love's (South Bend, Indiana) three-pointer rimmed out and Sullivan's attempt to tie the contest with the put-back in the paint came after as the buzzer sounded to end the contest.

Despite 18 first-half turnovers, the Eagles were able to battle back from an early 5-0 deficit to forge a 20-15 lead nine minutes into the contest. The Aces, however, used a 16-2 run that lasted a little more than three minutes to take a commanding nine-point lead.

The Eagles battled back to cut the lead to four, but the Aces ended the half with a 6-0 run to go into the break with a 45-35 lead.

USI was led in the contest by Sullivan, who had 15 points and eight rebounds. Junior guard Kenny Page (Indianapolis, Indiana) added 14 points and a game-high nine assists, while Love chipped in 12 points and six rebounds.

Evansville was led by senior center Bradley Strickland's game-high 18 points. Senior forward/center Matt Webster added 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

USI opens the regular season Friday in Orlando, Florida, as it takes on North Georgia College and State University in the first round of the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic. The contest is slated for 5:30 p.m. (CST) in the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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