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December 12, 2001

Home for the holidays,
Eagles looking to gain momentum with extended home stay

After being on the road for seven of its first nine games of the 2001-02 season, the University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team will have the chance to get more acquainted with its home court, the Physical Activities Center. The Screaming Eagles are about to embark upon a seven-game home stand, starting with this Saturday’s game against Oakland City University. In addition, USI will play 11 of its next 13 games at the PAC.

Since the 1992-93 season, the Eagles have posted a 136-9 (.938) record at the PAC. One of the losses, however, came in a heart-breaking 70-69 thriller against the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Coincidently, that loss has spurred a streak of one-point thrillers never seen before at USI. The Eagles rebounded from the loss with a 91-90 victory at the University of Indianapolis, but lost in overtime at 17th-ranked Northern Kentucky University, 83-82.

The Eagles enter Saturday’s contest with a 5-4 record and are trying to break to break the Saturday jinx. Dating back to the end of last season, USI has lost five consecutive games on Saturdays.

USI will be hoping to close that streak and extend its winning streak over the Mighty Oaks of Oakland City, who enter Saturday’s game with a 3-6 record. The Eagles have won seven straight games against OCU and lead the all-time series 29-10.

Last season, the Eagles defeated the Mighty Oaks, 95-65, behind the 18-point performance of junior forward Diond’re Givens (Mt. Vernon, Indiana).

This time, the Eagles will be looking for big performances from Givens and senior forward Marlowe Currie (St. Louis, Missouri). Currie leads the Great Lakes Valley Conference with 22.6 points per game and has a team-high 7.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals, per contest, to his credit.

USI will also need senior center Ronnie Griffin (Louisville, Kentucky) to continue to be an offensive threat. In the last five games, Griffin is averaging 16.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, as opposed to 10.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in the first four.

Evansville native David Ragland is averaging 11.2 points and 2.8 assists per game since becoming a starter five games ago. He will also be counted on heavily as the Eagles look for momentum from their home stand.

Adding offensive support from behind the arc is freshman guard Cris Brunson (Evansville, Indiana). Brunson is adding 10.0 points per game to the Eagle offense and has connected on 15 of 28 (.536) shots from three-point land.

Upcoming opponents for the Eagles include Abilene Christian University (12/18), Brescia University (12/29), top-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan (1/3), Wilberforce University (1/5), Quincy University (1/10), and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (1/12). Saturday’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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