Eagles rally to win with big second half

Little and Rivera have big nights for USI

Eagles rally to win with big second half
USI Basketball (Source: WFIE)

QUINCY, Ill. (WFIE) -University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball posts a big second half to defeat Quincy University, 83-77, Tuesday evening in Quincy, Illinois. USI sees its record to go 3-2 this season, while Quincy ends the evening 2-6. 

USI and Quincy traded buckets and leads through the first four minutes of the game before the Hawks slowly pulled out to an eight point lead, 19-11, with 13:36 left before halftime. The Screaming Eagles closed the gap to two points, 22-20, with a 9-3 run, but the Hawks regained the momentum and pushed the margin back to eight points, 30-22. 

The Eagles had the momentum in the final six minutes of the half, shaving two points off the deficit and went in to the locker room at the intermission down six, 38-32. Senior forward Emmanuel Little led the USI attack during the first 20 minutes with 11 points and seven boards. 

USI came out firing in the second half to take control of the contest. The Eagles outscored the Hawks, 29-12, in the first 10 minutes of the final stanza, building their largest lead of the game (13 points), 63-50, with 9:36 remaining on the clock. 

USI was a 12-of-21 during the run and was led by senior guard Mateo Rivera and Little, who had seven points each during the push to the lead. 

As the Eagles were about the put the game on cruise control, the Hawks rallied to make a game of it in the final five minutes. Quincy closed the gap with USI to one point twice (67-66 and 69-68) before the Eagles could put the game away with a 14-9 burst, led by another eight point surge by Rivera. 

In the 14-9 run to the buzzer, Rivera and Little combined for five-of-six from the stripe in the final minute to seal the 83-77 victory. 

Overall in the box score, Little finished the game with a season and game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds. The senior forward, who posted his first double-double of the season, was a blistering 10-of-15 from the field and five-of-seven from the line. He also tied a career-best with three steals. 

Rivera, who scored 15 points in the second half, finished the game with career-high 20 points. The senior guard was six-of-16 from the field, including three from downtown, and five-of-six from the line, while dishing four assists. 

Senior forward Josh Price rounded out the USI double-digit scorers with 13 points. 

USI concludes its road swing Saturday when it visits McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. The Bearcats are 4-2 in 2020-21 and is slated to visit Drury University Wednesday in Springfield, Missouri. 

The Eagles hold a 14-8 overall series record lead versus the Bearcats, including nine of the last 10 meetings. USI won the first meeting of the season in December, 81-70, at Screaming Eagles Arena and behind the 18-point performance of junior guard Jelani Simmons, who led four Eagles in double-digits.

Courtesy: USI Athletics

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