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February 21, 2009

Smith and Russ combine for 51 in USI win

#20 Southern Indiana (23-5, 12-3 GLVC): 94; Missouri S&T (8-17, 3-13 GLVC): 73
Box Score


EVANSVILLE, Ind. University of Southern Indiana junior guard Jamar Smith (Peoria, Illinois) and junior forward Brandon Russ (Cincinnati, Ohio) combined for 51 points to lead the Screaming Eagles to a 94-73 victory over Missouri University of Science & Technology Saturday afternoon in the Physical Activities Center. USI raises its record to 23-5 overall and 12-3 in the GLVC, while MST falls to 8-17, 3-13 GLVC.

The victory marks the end of the 2008-09 USI home schedule with the Eagles finishing the year 18-1.

In the first half, Smith was an offensive powerhouse for the Eagles. The junior guard scored 20 of his game-high 29 points in the opening 20 minutes on seven-of-nine from field and four-of-five from three-point range. He would finish the contest with 10-of-15 from field, five-of-eight from long range, and four-of-five from the charity stripe.

The five field goals from beyond the arc marked the seventh time this season that Smith has hit at-least five three-pointers in a game.

The Eagles had control of the game midway through the first half on a 16-4 run to lead, 41-30, with 4:22 left. The Miner, however, did not go away and cut margin to four points, 47-43, by the intermission.


In the second half, Russ took over the USI offense and scored 20 of his 22 points in the final 20 minutes. The junior post player finished the game by hitting six-of-eight from the field and a clutch 10-of-12 from the line. Russ' 83.3 percent from the field was 27 points better than his season percentage.

Russ was a big part of USI's 14-5 run to start the second, scoring eight of 20 second half points during the run, and giving the Eagles a 63-49 advantage with 13:08 left. The Miners cut into the USI margin for a final time, shrinking the lead to 67-63, before the Eagles put on the afterburners and pulled away.

USI's largest lead of the game would be the final score of 94-73.

In addition to Smith and Russ, senior forward Anthony Pimble (Bronx, New York)and junior forward Tyrone Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored in double figures with 13 points and 10 points, respectively. Pimble was playing in his final regular season game at the PAC today and was honored prior to the game


Another key to the victory was USI winning the rebounding battle with MST, 36-29 for the game and 28-18 in the second half. The Eagles were led on the glass by Russ and Smith with nine boards each.

The victory kept USI in the hunt for the right to host the GLVC Tournament. The Eagles kept pace with West Division leading Rockhurst University which won this evening over Quincy University, and East Division leading Northern Kentucky University, which lost tonight at Saint Joseph's College.

USI will finish the 2008-09 regular season campaign on the road next week with a make-up game at Drury University on Wednesday evening and the season finale on February 28 at Rockhurst.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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