USI opens regular season with region opponents

USI opens regular season with region opponents
... (Source: WFIE)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) -University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball opens the 2019-20 regular season campaign with a pair of region foes at the G-MAC/GLVC Crossover Friday and Saturday at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. The Screaming Eagles start the regular season with Hillsdale Friday at 11:30 a.m. (CST) and conclude the first road trip of the year with Malone University Saturday at 4 p.m. (CST).

Game coverage for the region crossover, including live stats (Friday’s game only) and audio broadcasts, is available at The games also can be heard on ESPN 97.7FM and 95.7FM The Spin.

USI Men’s Basketball Week 1 Quick Notes:

USI takes the Aces to overtime in exhibition. The University of Southern Indiana took the University of Evansville into overtime before falling, 71-68, at the Ford Center. Junior forward Emmanuel Little led the Eagles with a double-double, 20 points and 11 rebounds, while junior forward Clayton Hughes added 11 points in the loss.

Rough first half/good second half at Purdue. In a tail of two halves, USI lost the first half and won the second half in an 88-59 exhibition loss to Purdue University. The Eagles lost the first half, 54-21, after shooting 28.0 percent (7-25), but bounced back to win the second half, 38-34, by shooting 40 percent from field (12-30). Junior forward Emmanuel Little led the Eagles with 13 points in the loss.

USI starts ranked in preseason polls. USI was ranked 18th in the NABC Preseason Top 25 and 20th in the Division II Bulletin Preseason Top 25. These are the first preseason rankings for USI since the 2014 season.

USI picked 2nd in GLVC preseason poll. USI was picked to place second in the GLVC for 2019-20 in a vote of the GLVC coaches.

Watson closing on all-time record. USI Head Coach Rodney Watson, the third Eagles’ head coach to reach the 200-win mark, finished 2018-19 two wins short of the USI all-time record, held by Bruce Pearl (231-46, 1992-2001). Watson starts 2019-20 with 229 victories.

USI ended 2018-19 in NCAA II semifinals: USI concluded the 2018-19 campaign in the NCAA II Elite Eight semifinals with a loss to sixth-ranked and sixth-seeded Point Loma Nazarene University, 81-71, after advancing with a 94-84 victory over third-ranked and second-seeded West Texas A&M University.

Top Returners in 2019-20. The Eagles return senior guard/forward Kobe Caldwell, who averaged 13.3 points per game, and junior forward Emmanuel Little, who averaged 11.5 points per game and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per outing. Caldwell, who is out for this weekend with an injury, also averaged 12.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game during the 2019 post-season, while Little posted 8.6 points and 6.6 rebounds during the team’s tournament run.

Laravie named to Division II Bulletin Super 16. Senior guard Joe Laravie was named to the Division II Bulletin Super 16 for 2019-20. Laravie averaged a career-high 18.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as a junior in 2018-19 for Christian Brothers University. In three seasons, Laravie averaged 14.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per contest.

USI vs. Hillsdale. The Eagles and the Chargers are tied 2-2 in the all-time series after Hillsdale won last year’s meeting, 67-60, in overtime in the G-MAC/GLVC Crossover in Springfield, Illinois. USI guard Alex Stein led the Eagles with 15 points, while junior forward Emmanuel Little grabbed 12 rebounds in the loss. USI won the first two meetings in the series, while Hillsdale has taken the last two.

Hillsdale in 2018-19. Hillsdale was 19-10 overall in 2018-19, tying for third in the G-MAC regular season with a 14-6 mark.

USI vs. Malone. The Eagles hold a 3-0 advantage over the Pioneers, including last season’s 74-71 victory at the G-MAC/GLVC Crossover. Guard/forward Nate Hansen led the Eagles with 20 points, while senior guard/forward Kobe Caldwell dropped in 15 points.

Malone in 2018-19. Malone was 15-14 overall in 2018-19, finishing tied for seventh in the G-MAC with a 9-11 conference mark.

Courtey: USI Athletics

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