Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

USI Eyes Pressure-Filled Clash ; Eagles to Clamp Down on Tritons in GLVC Opener

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

USI Eyes Pressure-Filled Clash ; Eagles to Clamp Down on Tritons in GLVC Opener

Article excerpt

It's not really a press, more like an extension of the University of Southern Indiana's half-court defense. But its purpose may as well be the same as a press - to mess up the opposition's offense early.

The No. 17 Screaming Eagles (7-1) plan to use it tonight in their Great Lakes Valley Conference opener against the University of Missouri-St. Louis Tritons (7-2, 0-1 GLVC) at the Physical Activities Center. Tipoff is 7:30.

"We've gotten established in putting defensive pressure on the ball in the backcourt to force (opponents) to start playing offense a long way out," said USI coach Rodney Watson.

USI's defense worked especially well against Cedarville University in the second half last Saturday.

USI whacked nine percentage points off the Yellow Jackets' first- half shooting percentage, reducing it to 32.1 percent - including 10 percent (1-for-10) from 3-point range in the final 20 minutes. A leader in that shutdown effort was Eagles guard Kenyon Smith. The 5- foot-11 senior had five steals for the game, three in the second half.

"Those steals really put doubt in an opponent's mind," said Watson.

USI probably will need that tonight against the Tritons.

UMSL comes in having won four of its last five games. It's only loss over that period was to Maryville, 72-65, on Dec. 5.

The Tritons rank fourth in the GLVC in scoring offense (83.2 points per game), but are 14th in scoring defense (72.3 points).

"They're a driving team, so the main thing will be our help- side (defense)," said Smith, who has 13 steals this season. "We've got to attack, talk and switch off. We've got to stay between the ball and our man. And if they dribble toward the baseline, you've got to force them to your help (defense)."

USI finally did that in the second half against Cedarville after giving up six 3-pointers in the first half. …

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