LEBANON, Ill. (WFIE) -Ninth-ranked University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball came up short in the 2019-20 Great Lakes Valley Conference opener at McKendree University, 68-64, Tuesday evening in Lebanon, Illinois. USI goes to 5-1 overall and 0-1 in the GLVC, while McKendree is 4-2, 1-0 GLVC in 2019-20.
After a rough start of the contest by both team that saw USI leading, 12-10, the Eagles took control with a 19-4 run to post its largest lead of the opening half, 19 points, 33-14. Senior guard Joe Laravie, who had nine points during the run, capped off the run with long-range bomb, while USI shot a blistering 70 percent as a team during the run (7-10), 75 percent from beyond the arc (3-4).
McKendree made a run in the final seven minutes of the opening half, cutting USI’s advantage to 35-23 by the intermission. Laravie posted a team-best 11 points during the first stanza with junior guard/forward Clayton Hughes following with nine points.
In the second half, McKendree came out of the locker room in dominating fashion, rolling to the lead, 39-37, with a 16-2 run and holding USI without a field goal for the first five minutes after halftime. The Bearcats extended the lead to as many as nine points, 56-47, with 9:29 left to play in the contest.
USI fought back, pulling to within one point, 61-60, when junior forward Emmanuel Little hit a pair of free throws with 4:17 to play in the game. The Bearcats, however, locked down the Eagles offense in the final minutes, outscoring USI, 8-4, the rest of the way in the four-point loss.
Individually for the Eagles, Hughes led the way offensively with 16 points on four-of-seven from the field, two-of-three from beyond the arc, and six-of-six from the stripe. Laravie followed with 13 points, while Little rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points.
USI is idle until December 15 when the Eagles start a five-game homestand by hosting Lincoln College (Illinois) at the Screaming Eagles Arena. The homestand will include Lincoln, Tiffin University (December 21); King College (December 22); Drury University (January 2), and Southwest Baptist University (January 4).
Note: USI rose to ninth in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Division II Sports Information Directors of America (D2SIDA) Top 25 polls that were released today. The Eagles rose one spot in both polls.
Courtesy: USI Athletics