Men’s basketball advances to 8-0

The men’s basketball team brought its season record to 8-0 with a 98-83 win against Lees-McRae College this evening.

The team was led by sophomores Alex Stein and Jacob Norman who were high school teammates at Reitz High School before both heading to USI to continue their basketball careers.

Stein ended the night with 30 points and five assists while Norman followed up with a career-high 18 points and 9 rebounds.

“(Norman) is a huge impact on the game,”  Stein said. “Coach always tells us we have a bunch of starters. Everybody on our team is a starter and Jacob really showed that tonight.”

Norman had two dunks in the second half which energized both the crowd and the team.

“Those two dunks gave us a lot of energy,” Stein said. “After that we started getting a lot of stops and things started going our way.”

The first half was not successful for the Eagles. The team was down by 19 at one point before cutting the lead to four to head into halftime.

“We came out and we didn’t play our game at all,” Stein said. “We were playing their pace, nothing was flowing for us.”

Stein said free throws throughout the first half kept USI in the game.

Lees-McRae committed 19 fouls in the first half which led USI to shoot 25 free throws, 22 of which it made.

“(Lees-McRae) fouled quite a bit,” Stein said. “They played really hard the whole game.”

Stein said another impact on the game was center Davis Carter.

“Davis made a huge impact for us this game,” Stein said. “He’s so long. He affects every shot whether he blocks it or he’s just standing there with his hands up. He really set us off in that first half.”

Stein said the success in the second half came from the team slowing down and finding its pace.

“They were rushing us in the first half making us do things we didn’t want to do,” Stein said. “In the second half we slowed down and I feel like everyone handled their pressure pretty well.”