The University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team blistered the nets in the first half before holding on to defeat Malone University, 87-76, in final game of the G-MAC/GLVC Crossover Saturday evening in Canton, Ohio. USI watched its record to 2-2 overall in 2017-18, while Malone starts the year, 1-1.
The Screaming Eagles flew out of the gate to start the game, racing out to an 11-0 lead after hitting four of the first six shots in the first two minutes. USI would extend the lead to as many as 20 points after shooting 66.7 percent from the field (18-27) and a blistering 71.4 percent from beyond the arc (10-14), taking a 47-30 lead into halftime.
USI senior guard Marcellous Washington (Lexington, Kentucky) led the first half surge with 15 points on a perfect five-of-five from downtown, while junior guard Nate Hansen (Evansville, Indiana) opened his Eagles career with a near-perfect four-of-five from long range for 12 points.
The Eagles continued to widen the margin in the second half, extending the lead to as many as 25 points, 69-44, with 6:13 to play. The Pioneers, however, would make a run at the Eagles, using a 16-2 run to pull to within 11 points with 1:52 left, 71-60.
Malone would close to within seven points, 81-74, with 26 ticks remaining on the clock before junior guard Alex Stein (Evansville, Indiana) and junior forward Jacob Norman (Evansville, Indiana) sealed the USI victory with six-straight free throws.
After blistering the nets in the opening half, the Eagles finished the game by hitting 57.1 percent from the field (28-49), 56.5 percent from beyond the three-point arc (13-23), and 81.8 percent from the charity stripe (18-22). USI also won the battle on the boards, 34-21.
Washington finished the game with a career-high 22 points as three Eagles reached 20-or-more points. The senior guard was six-of-eight overall, six-of-seven from long range, and a perfect four-of-four from the stripe.
Hansen finished his USI debut with 21 points, also hitting six-of-eight from the field, five-of-seven from downtown, and four-of-six from the line. Stein, who had 13 second half points, rounded out the double-digit scorers with 20 points on seven-of-10 from the field, including a three-pointer, and five-of-six from charity stripe.
The Eagles begin the 2017-18 home slate Tuesday when they host Brescia University for a non-conference 7 p.m. contest. USI leads the all-time series with Bresica, 3-0, after winning the last meeting in 2010-11, 98-62, at the PAC. The Bearcats are 0-2 to start the season.