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January 12, 2002

Evansville natives combine for 48 points as Eagles rally past Cougars

@University of Southern Indiana (12-4 overall, 6-3 GLVC): 102
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (6-10 overall, 2-8 GLVC): 96

Evansville natives Cris Brunson (Reitz) and David Ragland (Harrison) combined for 48 points to lead the University of Southern Indiana menís basketball team to a 102-96 come-from-behind victory over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville this evening at the Physical Activities Center in Evansville, Indiana.

The Screaming Eagles, who raised their record to 12-4 overall and 6-3 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, have won a season-high seven consecutive games. SIUE falls to 6-10 overall and 2-8 in the GLVC.

The Eagles trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half, 32-14, before fighting back to take the lead 46-45 with 3:11 to play in the first half. The Cougars, however, bounced back with an 11-3 run to finish the first half with a 56-49 lead.

SIUE shot 56.7 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from behind the arc in the first stanza. The Cougars were also good on 16-of-19 (84.2 percent) shots from the charity stripe in the first period.

USI used an 11-0 run in the second half to take a 69-66 lead with 13:38 to play. However, SIUE bounced back with a 10-0 run, later in the game, to take an 81-74 lead.

Down by seven with 9:12 remaining, USI turned to Brunson and Ragland. Brunson started a 16-2 run with a three-point play while Ragland followed with another bucket to cut the lead down to two points with 8:08 to go in the game.

Brunson scored seven of his game-high 26 points, in the run that gave USI a 90-83 lead with 4:33 left to play, while Ragland scored four points during the run and another seven points in the final two minutes to seal the win for the Eagles. Ragland finished the game with 22 points and a game-high five steals.

Both scoring totals were career highs for Brunson and Ragland.

USI held the Cougars to just 22 shots and forced them into 12 turnovers in the second frame. For the game, the Eagles shot 48.5 percent from the floor and knocked down 70.7 percent of their free throws while SIUE shot a blistering 57.7 percent from the floor and connected on 80.0 percent of its 30 free throws.

Senior forward/center Ronnie Griffin (Louisville, Kentucky) dished in 16 points to the Eagle offensive while sophomore forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois) and senior guard Matt Carter (Cannelton, Indiana) tapped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Carter had a team-high five assists while senior center Kevin Robinson (Largo, Maryland) led the Eagles with six rebounds.

The Eagles will hit the road for the next two contests, traveling to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to play the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Thursday, January 17 and to Rensselaer, Indiana, to play Saint Jospehís College Saturday, January 19. The next game at the PAC will be Thursday, January 24, when Northern Kentucky University comes to Evansville.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information
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