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October 29, 2008

USI hopes third time is charm against Evansville
Eagles open 2008-09 with exhibition Saturday


EVANSVILLE, Ind. The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team will tip-off the 2008-09 campaign Saturday when it plays an exhibition against the University of Evansville at Roberts Stadium. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Saturday night's match-up will be the third in the series and the Screaming Eagles are hoping that the third time will be the charm. The Aces have won the first two meetings, defeating the Eagles in 2004, 88-75, and in 2006, 77-75.

USI had the last shot in the 2006 battle only to see a three-point field goal roll off the rim with seconds to play.

The Eagles are coming off their 16th straight winning season in 2007-08, posting a 15-12 overall mark. Last year's winning record also was the 22nd positive finish to a campaign in the last 24 years.

The last 24 years have included 17 20-win seasons and 12 25-plus victory campaigns for the Eagles. USI also has appeared in 10 of the 11 GLVC tournaments since 1997-98 and 14 of the last 16 NCAA Division II tournaments since 1992-93.

USI Head Coach Rick Herdes, who has led the Eagles to 27-or-more wins in four of the last five years, has the job of meshing eight returning players and nine newcomers in 2008-09. Herdes is replacing 80 percent of the scoring and 62 percent of the rebounding from last year's team.

The squad begins the year leaning heavily on senior forward Anthony Pimble, the team's top returning scorer and 2008 preseason honorable mention All-American, and senior guard Kenny Love, who was redshirted last year after a knee injury. Pimble dropped in 11.4 points per game during his first season, while Love averaged 7.8 points per contest during his first season with the Eagles in 2006-07.

The Aces are looking to improve upon the 9-21 season they had a year ago. Evansville is led by senior forward Shy Ely, who was honorable mention All-Missouri Valley Conference last year after averaging 14.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

A USI tailgate party starts at 5 p.m. in the Hartke Pool parking lot. Grilled hot dogs and soft drinks will be provided free of charge to tailgating fans. Alcohol is prohibited.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Informaton

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