EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball overcame a 15-point first half deficit to defeat the University of Indianapolis, 80-75, Saturday afternoon in Evansville. USI, which moves into first in the GLVC East Division with the win, sees its record to go 5-3 this season, while U-Indy ends the afternoon 1-8.
USI was battered for the first seven minutes of the game and found itself down 15 points, 23-8. Senior forward Josh Price and senior forward Clayton Hughes had five points and three points, respectively, for the only offense as the Screaming Eagles were three-of-eight from the field to begin action this afternoon.
The Eagles narrowed the first half gap to eight points five times in the final 10 minutes of the opening half, but still went into the locker room down, 47-34, at halftime. Senior forward Emmanuel Little had nine points to pace the Eagles through the first 20 minutes.
The second half was all USI as the Eagles used a 21-5 run to get their first lead of the game, 55-52, when sophomore guard Chance Coyle nailed a jumper from the right corner with 10:52 remaining. Sophomore guard Tyler Henry led the USI charge with five points during the second half surge, including a three-pointer from the left corner to knot the game at 52-52.
After U-Indy narrowed the USI margin to two points at 59-57, the Eagles pushed its lead to a game-high 12 points, 71-59, with 5:22 to play on a 12-2 run. USI was a perfect five-of-five from the field during 12-2 run.
The Eagles would match the 12-point lead once more when junior guard Jelani Simmons slammed home a dunk for a 76-64 lead at the 3:37 mark.
The Greyhounds would make a run at the Eagles in the final three minutes, narrowing the gap to three points, 78-75, with 1:58 on the clock. USI would seal the victory with a pair of free throws by Price with two ticks left on the clock and survive with the 80-75 victory.
Price finished the game with a team-high 17 points and led five Eagles in double-digits. He was six-of-11 from the field, including a three-pointer, and four-of-four from the line.
Little followed with 15 points and completed his third double-double in four games with a team-high 10 rebounds off the bench. The senior forward was a blistering six-of-nine from the field, including a three-pointer, and two-of-three from the line, while grabbing four offensive and six defensive boards.
Senior guard Mateo Rivera added 13 points in the win with five assists and three steals. Henry and Simmons completed the double-digits scorers with 10 points each. USI is scheduled to returns to road next week, travelling to Lewis University Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. tip and the University of Illinois Springfield Saturday for a 3 p.m. start.
Lewis is 6-4 in 2020-21 and is idle Saturday after falling to the University of Missouri-St. Louis, 69-64, in St. Louis. The Flyers are 3-3 in their last six games since starting the year 3-1.
USI holds a 48-27 series lead over Lewis University, 47-27 since the Flyers joined the league in 1981-82. USI, which has won the last two match-ups, after defeating Lewis, 85-82, at home last season. Price paced the Eagles with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Rivera followed with 18 points.
Illinois Springfield, which started the game in the top spot of the GLVC East Division, saw its record fall to 5-4 and to fourth in the division after losing at UMSL, 70-58, this afternoon. The Prairie Stars host U-Indy Thursday before welcoming USI to Springfield.
USI holds a commanding 13-4 overall record versus the University of Illinois Springfield, including the last three meetings. The Eagles were led in last year’s 71-62 win on the road by Price, who had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Little, who posted 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Courtesy: USI Athletics