– University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball stumbled for the first time in 2021-22 with a 101-88 loss at Cedarville University Monday evening in Cedarville, Ohio. USI, ranked 16th nationally in the D2SIDA Top 25 poll, begins the year 1-1, while Cedarville rises to 2-3.
The Screaming Eagles had the hot hand in the first half, hitting 57.7 percent from the field (15-26), but trailed by 12 points at the break, 55-43.The Yellow Jackets matched the Eagles in the offensive performance by hitting 77.3 percent from the field (17-22), taking advantage of 11 USI turnovers. Cedarville had a 19-13 advantage in points off turnovers during the first 20 minutes.
After the Eagles found themselves down 19 points (53-34) with two minutes left until halftime, USI went on a 9-3 run to cut into the deficit. Senior guard Trevell Cunningham (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) had all nine of the USI points to end the half and completed the first 20 minutes with a team-best 14 points.
The USI surge at the end of the first half extended into the second half as the Eagles cut the deficit to six, 57-51, with 17:17 left on the clock. Junior guard Jelani Simmons (Columbus, Ohio) paced the start of the second half with six of the eight points to get to within six.
The Yellow Jackets responded with a run of their own, re-extending the margin to 12, 66-54, two minutes later. Cedarville would nurse the double-digit lead until after the midway point of the final half on a bucket by junior guard Myles Belyeu (Mason, Ohio) with 4:20 to pull the Eagles to within nine, 87-78. The nine-point deficit would be as close the Eagles would come the rest of the game.
USI sophomore guard Tyler Henry (Brooklyn, New York) led the Eagles’ offensive attack in the second half and the game, finishing with a USI career-best 23 points. Henry, who scored all 23 of his points in the final 20 minutes, was eight-of-11 from the field, including four-of-five from long range, and three-of-three from the striple.
Cunningham was held scoreless in the second half and followed with his 14 first half points, while Simmons and senior forward Clayton Hughes (Jackson, Tennessee) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points and 10 points, respectively.
COMING UP FOR USI:
USI concludes a two-game road swing Wednesday when it crosses the Ohio River to play Kentucky Wesleyan College in the Owensboro Sports Center. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.
Kentucky Wesleyan is 3-1 after posting an 86-68 victory over East/West University Saturday at the Sports Center. The Panther started the season with a win over the University of Illinois Springfield and a loss to Lindenwood University in the opening weekend before defeating Midway University in their home opener.
USI trails in the all-time series with KWC, 49-43, but has won the last seven-straight with the Panthers. The Eagles, who have won the last three at the Owensboro Sports Center, defeated the Panthers, 82-63, to open Screaming Eagles Arena in 2019.