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January 08, 2009

#8 USI comes from behind to defeat #19 NKU, 83-78
Eagles complete sweep of six-game homestand

#8 Southern Indiana (15-2, 5-0 GLVC): 83, #19 Northern Kentucky (9-4, 2-2 GLVC): 78
Box Score


EVANSVILLE, Ind. The 8th-ranked University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team completed a six-game homestand sweep with a come-from-behind victory over 19th-ranked Northern Kentucky University, 83-78, Thursday night at the Physical Activities Center. USI takes its record to 15-2 overall and 5-0 in the GLVC, while NKU falls to 9-4 overall, 2-2 GLVC.

The Screaming Eagles' comeback started with the opening bucket of the second half when they used a 14-0 run to erase an 11-point halftime deficit. The Norse would tie score three more times and take the lead one more time at 56-54 before the Eagles gained the advantage one last time and never looked back.


The contest remained close throughout most of the second half with USI's margin expanding to as large as eight points, 77-69, with 1:26 to play. The Eagles held off the Norse in the final minute as NKU pulled to within four points twice.

The second half rally was led by junior forward Brandon Russ (Cincinnati, Ohio), who scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. Russ was a perfect seven-of-seven from the field in the game and hit five-of-nine from the charity stripe.

USI junior guard Jamar Smith (Peoria, Illinois) followed Russ in the scoring column, tying a season-best with 17 points. Smith, who dropped in eight of his points in the second stanza, was six-of-nine from the field, hitting two three-point field goals, and was three-of-four from the line.

Russ and Smith were followed on the tally board by junior guard Marvin Gray (Freeport, Bahamas) and senior forward Anthony Pimble (Bronx, New York) with 16 points and 12 points, respectively.


The first half belonged to the Norse, who held the Eagles scoreless in the final 3:41 of the opening stanza to lead 47-36 at the intermission. Gray helped keep USI in the game during the first 20 minutes, leading the team with 10 of his 16 points.

The victory extends the USI overall winning streak as well as the home winning streak to 14 games. USI is a perfect 12-0 this season at the PAC.

The Eagles hit the road for the first time since early December when they travel to fifth-ranked Bellarmine University on Saturday. Game time in Louisville, Kentucky, is 7 p.m. (CST).

Bellarmine raised its record to 13-0, 4-0 GLVC, tonight with a 69-48 win at home against Kentucky Wesleyan College.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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