EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball opened the NCAA Division I era at Screaming Eagles Arena with a 71-53 victory Southern Illinois University Sunday afternoon. The Screaming Eagles start the year 1-1, while the Salukis begins 2022-23, 2-1.
The Eagles won the tip and jumped out to quick 6-2 lead in the contest. The Salukis did not let the Eagles get too far out front as the first half would feature 10 lead changes and six ties. USI had the largest lead of the open half with that early 6-2 advantage.
Junior guard Tyler Henry (Brooklyn, New York) led the way with in the first 20 minutes with eight points, including a three-point bomb from the right corner to give the Eagles a 28-26 margin at halftime.
After trading buckets through the first few minutes of the second half, USI exploded on an 18-3 run to post a 16-point, 50-36 lead with 11:46 to play. The Eagles were a blistering seven-of-nine from the field during the run, including a pair of three-point bombs. Senior guard Jelani Simmons (Columbus, Ohio) and Henry led the way during the run with seven and five points, respectively.
Southern Illinois battled back with an 11-4 run of its own to cut the USI’s lead to seven points, 54-47. The Eagles would regain the momentum and re-extended the margin to double-digits, 60-47, with a 6-0 burst that was punctuated by a three-point bomb by Simmons.
USI continued to re-extend the advantage until it reached its largest lead of the game, 18-points, in the 71-53 final. The Eagles, who shot 57.7 percent (15-26) in the final 20 minutes, also won the battle on the glass, 37-29.
Individually, Simmons led four players in double-digits with 18 points. The senior guard was eight-of-12 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers.
Junior guard Gary Solomon (Detroit, Michigan) followed with 16 points on seven-of-11 from the field, while Henry and sophomore guard Isaiah Swope (Newburgh, Indiana) rounded out the double-figure scorers with 13 points and 11 points, respectively.
Next Up 2022-23:
USI returns to the road this week when it travels to South Bend, Indiana, to play the University of Notre Dame and start action a series of three games that are a part of the Gotham Classic. In addition to the visit to Notre Dame, USI will visit St. Bonaventure University November 22 and Bowling Green State University November 26 as a part of the classic.
The Fighting Irish are 2-0 after an 88-81 win over Youngstown State University this afternoon in South Bend. Notre Dame was led by guard Dane Goodwin with 20 points to lead five players in double-digits.
Tuesday’s match-up will be the first meeting between the Eagles and the Irish in the history of the two men’s basketball programs. The game will stream on the ACC+ and ESPN+ networks and can be heard on ESPN 97.7FM and 95.7FM The Spin.
Courtesy: USI Athletics
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