Men's basketball sold out against No. 2

Roberto Campos

A sold out and electric crowd, experienced players, along with key bench performance, provided the USI Screaming Eagles a great remedy for victory.

Monday night the men’s basketball team defeated Kentucky Wesleyan College for the second consecutive “Battle for the Bridge” title, with a final score of 72-57 and handed Kentucky Wesleyan its first Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) loss.

The Eagles caught quick fire to get things started, attaining 12 early points, all of them being behind the arch.

“We wanted to take them off the dribble at the start, but our guys took what they got and found rhythm, hitting good shots,” USI men’s head basketball coach Rodney Watson said.

Even though senior Brandon Hogg and sophomore Lawrence Thomas put up a respectable 16 points a piece.

“I took what the defense gave me and used my quickness to score,” Thomas said. “Luckily, my shots were falling for me tonight.”

But it was points scored from players off the bench that was most critical to the Eagles win.

USI had 23 points from non-starters compared to the Panthers zero points from bench players.

“I told our guys on the bench that their coming into this game early to get into the flow,” Watson said. “A lot of these guys never have played in a sold out game, and to be able to come in and get shots on top of it is wonderful.”

Redshirt freshman Austin Davis was one of those players off the bench, who provided a lot of key plays during his 19-minute playing time. Shooting 2-2 from the field, Davis also had 3 big blocks, one being at the end of the game to put an exclamation mark to the Eagles performance.

“I tried to finish the game right, and when the crowd got into it there at the end, it felt great,” Davis said. “Hopefully we can keep this momentum going for our next game and the rest of the season.”

As a whole, the Screaming Eagles shot 52.9 percent from the field and never let the Panthers get within seven the entire game. USI”s record stands at 14-1 overall and 6-1 in the GLVC.

The Eagles take on University of Indianapolis 7:15 p.m. tonight against University of Indianapolis.