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February 25, 2009

USI wins on the road at Drury
Eagles to play for West title Saturday

#17 Southern Indiana (24-5, 13-3 GLVC): 76; Drury (13-13, 6-10 GLVC) 69
Box Score


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The University of Southern Indiana men's basketball had to battle to the final seconds to defeat Drury University, 76-69, Wednesday night in Springfield, Missouri. USI raises its record to 24-5 overall and 13-3 in the GLVC, while Drury falls to 13-13, 6-10 GLVC.

The victory sets up the showdown for the GLVC West Division title in Kansas City, Missouri, Saturday at 3 p.m. between USI and Rockhurst University. The Hawks, who are 18-8 and 13-3 GLVC, are idle until the Screaming Eagles come to visit on Saturday.

In addition to the West Division title being on the line, USI also could be playing for the right to host the GLVC Tournament. The Eagles are a game-behind East Division leading Northern Kentucky University for the right to host the league playoff and needs the Norse to lose one of its last two game to have a chance to host.

The Eagles and the Panthers began the game by battling to a 43-43 tie at the intermission. USI, which shot 65 percent during the first 20 minutes (17-26), had the largest lead of the first half, 34-26. Drury responded with a 17-7 run to regain the lead, 43-41, before USI senior forward Anthony Pimble (Bronx, New York) evened the score with a dunk in the final minute of the opening half.

The Eagles were led in the first stanza by junior guard Jamar Smith (Peoria, Illinois), whose 19 first half points marked the third straight game that he had scored at least 15 points before halftime.

In the second half, USI seemed to pull away from Drury with an 18-8 run and lead 61-51 with 9:15 left to play. The Panthers, however, would not go away and rebounded with a 13-2 run, including 12 points in row, to take the lead 64-63 with 5:16 to play.

After Drury went on to build a 69-67 lead, USI went ahead for the final time and closed out the game with a Smith-led 9-0 run. Smith, who would finish the contest with a game-high 28 points and tie for a game-high with eight assists, started the run with a three-pointer to give the Eagles a 70-69 lead and sank four free throws in a row after a dunk by Pimble to close out the 76-69 win.

Smith, who was a blistering six-of-nine from long range in the game, has averaged 24.2 points and five three-point field goals per game in the last five contests.

Pimble followed Smith in the scoring column for the Eagles with 15 points and led the team with a game-high eight rebounds. Junior guard Marvin Gray (Freeport, Bahamas) closed out the USI double-figure scorers with 11 points.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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