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February 21, 2008

USI struggles in the second half, falls 70-58

Box Score: SIU Edwardsville 70, Southern Indiana 58

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team struggled in the second half and lost at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 70-58, Thursday evening in Edwardsville, Illinois. USI falls to 13-11 overall and 7-9 in the GLVC, while SIUE goes to 15-10 overall, 8-9 GLVC.

The loss drops USI into third place in the GLVC West Division, a half-game behind SIUE. The Screaming Eagles have a chance take back the half game on the road Saturday against Quincy University when the Cougars are idle. Quincy, which was idle Thursday, is 12-12 overall and 6-10 in the GLVC after defeating SIUE, 74-72, in overtime Tuesday evening.

The Eagles built a commanding 11-point lead, 38-27, by intermission on the strength of a 17-6 run in the last five minutes of the first half. USI senior forward Norman Plummer (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the way with 11 points, while major contributions were made by junior guard Josh Huebner (Evansville, Indiana) and sophomore center Brandon Hopf (Ferdinand, Indiana) with nine points and seven points, respectively.

Hopf would end the opening half by hitting a three-point field goal, just his second of the season.

The Cougars came roaring out of the locker room in the second half, erasing the Eagles' lead with a 20-4 run to jump in front, 47-42. USI would regain the lead, 49-47, only to see SIUE slip back in front. The 49-47 lead would be the last lead the Eagles would have in the game.

After SIUE regained the lead, 52-49, with 9:13 to play, the Cougars persistently widened the gap with the Eagles until they had their largest lead of the game came in the final score of 70-58. The Eagles had their chances in the second half, but were only able to shoot 26.1 percent from the field (6-23) and committed 10 turnovers.

Individually, Plummer would finish the game with 23 points, 18 rebounds, and his 10th double-double of the year. Plummer, who scored 12 of USI's 20 second half points, reached the 18-rebound plateau for the second time this year.

Huebner and Hopf followed Plummer in the scoring column for USI with nine points each. The nine points were a season-high for Hopf.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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