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November 16, 2001

Eagles explode in season opener,
Herdes records first career win with 47-point blowout

University of Southern Indiana (1-0): 109
Texas A&M Commerce (0-1): 72

The University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team opened its 2001-02 season with a 109-72 blowout of Texas A&M Commerce this evening in the first round of the Disney Wide World of Sports Division II Tip-off Classic in Orlando, Florida. The Eagles will face 15th-ranked Wingate University tomorrow night (7:30 p.m. CST) in the second round.

After falling behind 3-0 early on, the Screaming Eagles used two nine-point runs to give them an 18-8 lead at the 14:20 mark of the first half. USI did not let up as it went into halftime with a comfortable 52-26 lead.

The Eagles dominated the first half, statistically, as they forced the Lions into 15 turnovers and out-rebounded the Lions 31-21 in the first frame. Even more impressive was the Eagles teamwork as every player on the USI roster scored in the first stanza.

“I think we had a lot of good things happen out there tonight,” head coach Rick Herdes stated following his first career victory. “We held them to 26 points in the first half and we never pressed them in the second half. That is one of the things we do well.”

When asked about the teamwork that USI displayed, Herdes looked no further than senior center Ronnie Griffin (Louisville, Kentucky). Griffin finished with 10 points but made some key plays throughout. “He played real unselfish and he could have scored more baskets. But, at 6’9”, he took three charges.”

Freshman guard Chris Brunson (Evansville, Indiana) scored nine of his 18 points in the first half while sophomore forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois) came away with all eight of his rebounds before the break.

Said Brunson of his first collegiate experience: “I started off a little nervous, but the seniors told me to stay calm, work hard, shoot when your open, and keep on doing what you have been doing.”

The Eagles held the Lions to 28.6 percent from the floor in the first half.

After scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds in the first half, senior forward Marlowe Currie (St. Louis, Missouri) exploded for 16 points and eight rebounds in the second period. Currie tied Brunson for the team lead with 18 points while his 10 rebounds were a game high.

In all, the Eagles had six players finish in double-digits. Senior forward Wes Attebury (Evansville, Indiana) went three of seven from the floor to finish with 11 points while junior forward Diond’re Givens (Mt. Vernon, Indiana) joined Billy Harris and Ronnie Griffin with 10 points a piece.

USI’s 109 points marked the ninth time in 10 seasons that it has eclipsed the century mark in the season opener. It is the 12th time, overall, in school history that the Eagles have recorded 100 points in the their first game.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information
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