SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (WFIE) - Senior guard/forward Nate Hansen (Evansville, Indiana) scored a team-high 20 points as University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball defeated Malone University, 74-71, in the second round of the GLVC/GMAC Challenge Saturday afternoon.
USI (1-1), which led 30-23 at the half and 38-27 early in the second frame, found itself on the opposite end of a 22-8 run that put them in a four-point deficit (61-57) with just over seven minutes left in the game.
Junior guard Kobe Caldwell Bowling Green, Kentucky) hit a three-pointer to cut the Pioneers' lead to a single digit, while Hansen connected from downtown to put USI up 63-61.
Malone (0-2) fired back, using a four-point play to take a 65-63 advantage. The Pioneers led 71-68 with less than two minutes to go in the contest when senior guard Alex Stein (Evansville, Indiana) hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to one.
Sophomore guard Mateo Rivera (Indianapolis, Indiana) had a tip-in layup off a miss by Caldwell with just over a minute to play to put USI up, 72-71, while Caldwell connected on a pair of free throws with 12.9 seconds to play to give USI a three-point edge. It was the only basket of the game for Rivera, who finished with five rebounds and a pair of assists.
Malone sophomore guard Jaret Majestic missed on a desperation heave with two seconds to play as the Eagles held on for the three-point win.
In addition to Hansen, the Eagles got 15 points from Caldwell and 14 from Stein. Sophomore forward Josh Price (Belleville, Illinois) added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Senior guard Nate Sheppard had a game-high 29 points to lead Malone, while junior guard Daylan Haynie dished out 10 assists.
Both teams performed well from three-point range, with the Eagles connecting on 12-of-24 attempts from behind the arc and the Pioneers making good on 14 of their 32 attempts. Free throws, however, were a bugaboo for both squads as USI was 12-of-18 from the charity stripe and Malone 11-of-25.
The Eagles return to action November 17 at 3 p.m. when they open their 2018-19 home schedule against Martin Methodist University.
Courtesy: USI Athletics