Eagles get 95-92 exhibition win over Eastern Illinois


The University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team posted its first exhibition win over an NCAA Division I opponent with a 95-92 win at Eastern Illinois University tonight in Charleston, Illinois. The victory broke a 0-17 streak against Division I exhibition opponents and was the first victory (regular season or exhibition) over a Division I team since USI defeated the University of Wisconsin in 1990-91.

The Screaming Eagles and the Panther traded buckets through the start of the first half and were tied 15-15 before USI went on a 15-3 run to lead 30-18 with 9:35 left to halftime. USI’s margin would grow to as many as 14 points, 38-24, after a three-point bomb by junior guard Nate Hansen (Evansville, Indiana).

Eastern Illinois followed with an 18-7 run of their own to knot the game up at 42-42 with 2:39 remaining in the half. USI would get the final bucket of the half when Hansen hit another from downtown to give the Eagles a 45-42 halftime margin.

The Eagles shot 53.3 percent (16-30) from the field and a blistering 69.2 percent from long-range (9-13). Hansen led USI’s long range attack with three-of-four from beyond the arc.

In the second half, USI quickly ran the lead back to 14 points, 62-48, with a 17-6 run that was led by senior guard Marcellous Washington (Lexington, Kentucky). Washington had seven points during the dash by to a 14-point margin.

USI’s largest lead of the game would come with 10:46 to play when freshman forward Emmanuel Little(Indianapolis, Indianapolis) hit a three-point field goal to put the Eagles up 15 points, 68-53.

The Panthers, however, were not going to let the Eagles cruise to the victory. Eastern Illinois would cut the USI advantage to two points, 89-87 and 93-91, before junior guard Alex Stein (Evansville, Indiana) hit six-straight free throws to seal the Eagles’ 95-92 victory.

Overall as a team, USI was a blistering 60.7 percent from the field (34-56), 64.0 percent from downtown (16-25), and 73.3 percent from the line (11-15). The Eagles also won the rebounding battle, 37-30.

Stein led the Eagles in the scoring column with 28 points, hitting a red-hot nine-of-11 from the field, four-of-five from long-range, and six-of-six from the line. The junior guard also had a team-best nine assists.

Little followed Stein with 19 points and also grabbed a team-best nine rebounds. Washington and Hansen rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 points each.

The Eagles resume regular season action in the G-MAC/GLVC Challenge at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, taking on Hillsdale College November 10 at 5 p.m. (CST) and Malone University November 11 at 6 p.m. (CST). The next home game for USI is November 14 when it hosts Brescia University at the Physical Activities Center.