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January 22, 2002

USI looks to do more than come close against NKU

The University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team is hoping to do more than come close in the rematch with Northern Kentucky University this Thursday, January 24. USI came up just short against NKU in the first meeting of the year in Highland Heights, Kentucky, 83-82 in overtime.

In that first game, the Screaming Eagles (13-5, 7-4 GLVC) let a 12 point second half lead slip away and trailed by as many as six points in the final five minutes before senior guard Wes Attebury (Evansville, Indiana) sent the game into overtime. In the extra period, the lead bounced back and forth before NKU took the lead, 83-82, in the final seven seconds. The Eagles had one last chance, but a missed lay-up spelled doom for USI.

Fortunes have changed for the Eagles since that loss. USI, which was 5-4 after the game at NKU, has won eight of its last nine and its last seven in the Physical Activities Center.

USI will be led into the second meeting by a senior on the inside and a freshman on the outside. Senior forward Ronnie Griffin (Louisville, Kentucky) leads the Screaming Eagles in scoring with 13.2 ppg and is second in rebounding with 6.3 rpg, while freshman guard Cris Brunson (Evansville, Indiana) is second on the team scoring with 12.3 ppg and is shooting 88.9 percent from the line.

Both have really come to the forefront in the last nine games. Griffin is averaging 15.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in the last six games, while Brunson is tallying 15.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in the last eight contests.

Another player that has stepped from the shadows in the last three games is sophomore forward Billy Harris (Carbondale, Illinois). Harris is averaging 14.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg in the last three games, 3.2 points and 1.0 rebounds better than his season average.

NKU (12-4, 8-2 GLVC) enters Thursday’s contest on a six game winning streak. Senior guard Craig Sanders leads the way for the Norse, posting 19.1 ppg. Sanders led NKU in the first meeting, hitting USI for 19 points.

Sanders is followed in the scoring column by junior guard Bobby St.-Preux, who is averaging 14.4 ppg junior guard Brenden Stowers, 13.1 ppg and senior forward Carl Mitchell, 13.1 ppg.

In the first meeting of the season, Stowers had 14 points, while St.-Preux and Mitchell had 11 and 12 points, respectively.

Game time Thursday evening is 7:30 p.m. at the PAC.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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