January 02, 2007
USI starts Western Division play this week
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The 5th-ranked University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team begins play against the GLVC's West Division this week when it hosts Rockhurst University Thursday and Drury University Saturday at the Physical Activities Center. Thursday's match-up is a 7:30 p.m. tip-off, while Saturday will be at 3:15 p.m.
USI (13-1, 2-1 GLVC) concluded non-conference action for 2006-07 before New Year's with a 117-78 victory over Harris-Stowe State University. The Eagle players set 15 individual career-highs or season-bests in the victory.
The team also finished non-conference play 11-0 and has won 22 straight games against non-GLVC competition.
The Eagles return to conference play where they suffered their only blemish this season, on the road at the University of Indianapolis. USI has started the year with a pair of wins, defeating Kentucky Wesleyan College at the PAC and Saint Joseph's College on the road.
Leading the way to get the Eagles back on track in the GLVC is senior guard Melvin Hall (Evansville, Indiana) and senior forward Marty Wise (New Orleans, Louisiana). Hall leads the Eagles with 17.2 points per game (ppg) and is 15 three-point field goals ahead of last season's record-setting pace with a GLVC-best 58 long-range baskets.
Wise, who is averaging 10.3 ppg and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game (rpg), has been "Mr. Everything" for the Eagles over the last five games. He has averaged 10.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and 4.4 assist per contest since December 9, including a career-high 18 points and 13 rebounds against HSSU last week.
USI is hoping to get off to a good start in the West Division this week, where it was just 7-5 a year ago.
Rockhurst (7-4, 1-3 GLVC) has not played since December 11, when it won a non-conference game with the University of Saint Mary's, 77-48. The Hawks are just 1-3 in conference play, including a triple-overtime loss to the University of Missouri-St. Louis, 83-82.
For the season, Rockhurst is led by junior guard Joey Deas and junior forward/center John Torson. Deas is averaging 13.3 ppg, while Torson is dropping in 12.5 ppg and is grabbing a team-high 8.2 rpg.
USI won the first-ever meetings with the Hawks last season, winning on the road, 87-64, and at home, 74-59.
Drury (10-2, 3-1 GLVC) has won its last two games, both non-conference games. The Panthers defeated Missouri Valley College in their last game of 2006, 83-63. They started the GLVC season with an overtime loss to Lewis University, but have won three straight league games since then.
The 24th-ranked Panthers are led by All-GLVC performer Collins Harris, a junior forward. Harris is averaging 16.7 ppg and 4.4 rpg. Junior guard Steven Gum follows Harris in the scoring column with 12.8 ppg.
Last season, USI won the first-ever season series with Drury, 2-1. The Eagles won the first meeting on the road, 69-65, but the Panthers gave USI one of its two home losses in 2005-06, 83-82, on a last second shot.
USI won the important rubber-game in March with a 78-58 win at the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional at Saint Joseph's College.
NABC Division II Top 25
1. Winona State, Minn. (8), 11-0
2. Clayton State, Ga., 11-0
3. Central Missouri, 11-0
4. Bentley, Mass., 12-0
5. Southern Indiana, 13-1
6. Minnesota State, 14-1
7. Findlay, Ohio, 10-1
8. Emporia State, Kan., 11-0
9. Virginia Union, 5-0
10. Grand Valley State, Mich., 10-2
11. Pfeiffer, N.C., 8-1
12. Quincy, Ill., 10-2
13. Tarleton State, Texas, 8-2
14. Cal Poly Pomona, 7-1
15. Northwest Missouri State, 9-2
16. Eckerd, Fla., 10-1
17. Metropolitan State, Colo., 10-2
18. Southwestern Oklahoma State, 9-0
19. Southeastern Oklahoma State, 9-1
20. Saint Rose, N.Y., 11-2
21. Georgia College & State, 10-1
22. Cal State-San Bernardino, 6-2
23. Millersville, Pa., 9-1
24. Drury, Mo., 10-2