USI MBB loses a heartbreaker La Salle


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball lost a heartbreaker to La Salle University, 79-78, to open the Duke Blue Devil Challenge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Screaming Eagles are 1-4 after today’s action, while the Explorers are 4-0 to begin the season.

The Eagles came out hot in the opening and went toe-to-toe with the Explorers, winning their first opening half of the season. After falling behind 24-18, USI went on a 12-5 run to take a 30-29 lead when sophomore guard Jack Campion (Milton, Wisconsin) hit a three-pointer from the top of the key.
USI would go on to score six of the last eight points of the half and post a 36-31 lead at the intermission. Campion led the Eagles through the first 20 minutes with a season-best 10 points by halftime, while sophomore guard/forward AJ Smith (Edwardsville, Illinois) nine at the break.
In the second half, USI pushed the lead to as many as seven, 51-44, with 14:45 on the clock when junior forward Jack Mielke (Downers Grove, Illinois) hit a three. La Salle, however, would rally to regain the advantage, 54-53, with a 10-2 run with 12:49 to play.
The Eagles and the Explorers would trade buckets and leads until La Salle took the lead for good at 3:08, 73-72. USI had posted its last lead of the game at 3:34 when junior guard Jordan Tillmon (Pine Bluff, Arkansas) hit a long-range bucket for the 72-71 advantage.
La Salle increased the margin to 77-72 with USI hot on their heels and the Eagles closing the gap to 77-75 on a three by USI junior guard Jeremiah Hernandez (Chicago, Illinois) with seven seconds left.
After La Salle got two more free throws to seal the Eagles’ fate, Mielke hit a three with one second remaining to complete the 79-78 final.
Overall, USI shot a season-high 53.3 percent (32-60) from the field and 43.5 percent from beyond the arc (10-23), in addition to winning the battle of the boards, 32-29. The Eagles also had a season-high four players score in double-digits, led by Smith with15 points.
Smith was seven-of-12 from the field, including a three-pointer, while tying for the team-lead in rebounds with eight.
Hernandez followed with 14 points, while senior forward Nolan Causwell (Duluth, Georgia) and Campion rounded out the double-digit scorers with 13 points and 11 points, respectively. Causwell, who posted a season-high with his 13 points, tied Smith for the team-lead with a season-high eight rebounds.
Next Up For USI:
USI reaches the midway point of its three-game, nine-day road swing Monday when it visits Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The Bison fell to 1-4 Friday night to ninth-ranked Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, 90-30.
Fans can follow USI Basketball action on the road by visiting The USI-Bucknell game will be streamed live on ESPN+ and air live on ESPN 97.7FM.
The Bison are 0-2 in their part of the Challenge, starting their run with a loss to LaSalle, 69-57, last Tuesday.
Duke, which is 3-1 after Friday night’s win, will host La Salle on November 21 before welcoming the Eagles to Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 24. The USI-Duke contest will air live on the ACC Network and will be streamed on ESPN+.