BOLIVAR, Mo. (WFIE) -University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball won a barn burner on the road at Southwest Baptist University, 84-77, Tuesday afternoon in Bolivar, Missouri. USI sees its record to go 4-2 this season, while SBU, who received votes for the NABC Division II Top 25 poll today, ends the afternoon 6-2.
USI started the game with a bang, jumping out to a 9-0 lead by hitting four of their first five field goal attempts in the opening three minutes. SBU got back in the game with a 15-6 rally that tied the score, 15-15, with 13:33 left in the opening stanza.
Junior forward Tyler Dancy put USI back in front for good, 17-15, and ignited a 12-2 run that put the Eagles up by 10 points with 8:04 left in the first half, 27-17. Five different Eagles scored during the surge.
The Eagles extended their first half lead to as many as 17 points (42-25) before taking a 12-point advantage into the break, 44-32. Senior guard Mateo Rivera led Eagles in the first half with 13 points on four-of-six from the field, including a three-pointer, and four-of-four from the line.
As a team, USI was a blistering 66.7 percent from the field (16-24) and 75 percent from beyond the arc (six-of-eight).
Senior forward Emmanuel Little scored twice in the lane to get the Eagles moving the second half with a 8-3 run to push the USI margin back to 17 points, 52-35. SBU began to chip away at the USI advantage as the Eagle shooters went cold and closed to within one points, 68-67, with 4:20 remaining.
During the Bearcats’ surge, the Eagles struggled from the field for nearly 14 minutes, shooting 20 percent from the field (five-of-24).
The Eagles got back on track offensively when sophomore guard Tyler Henry hit a long-range jumper to push the lead back to four points, 71-67, and start a 10-2 surge to put USI back in command with two minutes to play, 75-69. USI sealed the 84-77 victory with eight-of-11 from the stripe in the final minutes, including four-of-four by Henry in the final 15 seconds.
In the scoring column, Rivera led the Eagles by matching a career-high with 20 points for the second-straight game. The senior guard finished the game five-of-12 from the field, two-of-five from downtown, and eight-of-eight from the stripe. He also grabbed a season-high nine rebounds.
Senior forward Josh Price followed Rivera with 18 points before fouling out. He was a blistering six-of-seven from the field and six-of-seven from the line, while grabbing eight rebounds. Little and Henry rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points each.
Little, the reigning GLVC Player of the Week, also finished the victory with a game-high 11 rebounds for his second-straight double-double.
USI concludes its extended road swing Thursday when it visits the University of Indianapolis for a postponed game from December 20. The Greyhounds are 0-7 in 2020-21 after falling to the University of Missouri-St. Louis January 9 on the road.
The Eagles hold a 58-24 series lead over UIndy, 54-23 in league play, after the Greyhounds took both meetings last year. The Greyhounds won in Indianapolis, 86-74, and at Screaming Eagles Arena, 88-76.
Courtesy: USI Athletics