The 10th-ranked University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team stumbled on the road and was upset by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, 77-68, Thursday night in Somers, Wisconsin. USI falls to 13-3 overall and 6-2 in the GLVC, while UW-Parkside goes to 11-5, 6-2 GLVC.
The Screaming Eagles scored the first four points of the game before the Rangers ignited for a 12-2 run to lead by six points, 12-6. UW-Parkside continued to lead until 7:11 left in the half when USI used an 11-2 run to retake the advantage, 24-21, by the third media timeout of the opening stanza.
The Rangers regained their balance after the media break, grabbing a 29-24 lead on an 8-0 run. USI and UW-Parkside traded buckets and free throws in the final minutes before the Rangers took a 33-28 leads into the intermission.
USI seemed to have the momentum after halftime, tying the score with five straight points, 33-33. UW-Parkside quickly retook the lead and never looked back as it built a lead of 12 points in the final minute, 77-65. Eagles' junior forward Orlando Rutledge (Louisville, Kentucky) would get the final bucket of the game to pull the deficit back under double-digits, 77-68, with a three-point field goal.
Midway through the second half and down by eight, 56-48, the Eagles fell short in their best chance to steal the momentum from the Rangers. USI senior guard Travis Jones(Carmi, Illinois) started the final run with back-to-back three-point field goals to get the Eagles within four, 58-54, while junior guard Lawrence Thomas (Springfield, Illinois) cut the deficit to two points, 58-56, with 9:50 to play. The two-point margin would be as close as USI would come in final nine minutes as UW-Parkside used a 7-0 run to pull away.
Overall, the Eagles committed 18 turnovers as a team, which the Rangers converted to 24 points. UW-Parkside also outscored USI in the paint, 38-28.
Individually, Rutledge led the Eagles with 20 points. The junior forward, who posted 20 or more points for the fourth time this year, was six-of-11 from the field, including four-of-six from beyond the three-point arc, and four-of-four from the line.
Rutledge was joined in double-figures by Thomas and junior forward Taylor Wischmeier (Brownstown, Indiana) with 10 points each. Senior guard Keyon Smith (Chicago, Illinois) was USI's top rebounder with nine boards.
The Eagles conclude the three-game road trip when they travel to Lewis University Saturday in Romeoville, Illinois. Game time at Lewis is slated for 3 p.m. USI returns to the friendly confines of the Physical Activities Center February 1 when it hosts eighth-ranked Bellarmine University for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
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