On senior night, in front of a crowd of 1597 people, the USI men’s basketball team beat Bellarmine University in a 89-82 overtime win.
Junior forward T.J. Tisdell said the team couldn’t end the regular season with a loss, especially for the seniors on the team, Travis Britt and Shane Seniour.
In the first half the Eagles struggled offensively, shooting 34.4 percent compared to the Knights’ 54.8 percent.
Tisdell said he let his recent illness effect him mentally in the first half, but he doesn’t see it as an excuse.
“The coaches talked to me in the second half and told me, ‘you know you just gotta fight through it and give it everything you’ve got. This team needs you,'” he said. “That kinda got to me.”
The team came out in the second half to outshoot Bellarmine 51.9 percent to 38.5, ultimately leading to overtime when the teams were tied at 74.
“We played with so much heart in the second half,” Tisdell said.
Tisdell helped lead USI with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Jeril Taylor (18), Alex Stein (16), Bobo Drummond (13) and Seniour (12) joined him as double-figure scorers.
I think we’re feeling pretty good,” Tisdell said. “We just have to calm down and give it everything we’ve got.”
Stein, a freshman guard, said the win was huge for the team. He said the team is playing well recently, even in the loss two game ago to the University of Illinois- Springfield he felt the team was strong.
Now, the focus shifts to the first round of the GLVC tournament on Sunday.
“(We’ll work on) definitely just being locked in the entire game,” Stein said. “Focussing on the game, not worry about anything else.”
Tisdell said the team was “blessed to get the win.” He said now it has lost close games recently and no one on the team wanted that tonight.
The Eagles will face Rockhurst University at 2 p.m. Sunday in the PAC for the first round of the GLVC tournament.
“We gotta build on (the win), we gotta keep fighting,” Tisdell said. “The games are going to be just like this (game against Bellarmine) from now on.”