Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Eagles Back to Awful Game after Great Ones

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Eagles Back to Awful Game after Great Ones

Article excerpt

Stunned? Yes. Surprised? No. The University of Southern Indiana's men's basketball team had been doing it all season - playing a great game, only to follow it later by an awful game. Only this time, everyone seemed to have gotten it figured out.

The Screaming Eagles had won nine of their last 10 games. That included winning their last six, their last four in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament. The last three were by double digits, with one of those over Drury, the top-seeded team in the tourney and, later, in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional.

Then they reverted to form. Third-seeded USI's season ended in its opening NCAA game on Saturday, losing to sixth-seeded Michigan Tech, 75-70, in Springfield, Mo.

Nobody said much after that one. The players who had slowly shuffled into the media room at Drury University - seniors Aaron Nelson and Ben Jones and junior Gavin Schumann - mostly looked down at the table or their feet. Anywhere but at anyone who had just witnessed what had happened.

On the other hand, coach Rodney Watson sat straight up, looked all the reporters in the eye, said he was "really proud of our guys" and tried to analyze what went wrong.

It was obvious.

The Eagles went 8-for-27 from 3-point range, 14-for-25 from the free-throw line and tied for their fewest number of rebounds in a game this season with 32. Meanwhile, Michigan Tech went 10-for-24 from beyond the arc, 21-for-25 at the foul line and also grabbed 32 rebounds. That last figure was remarkable for a team that started four guards who stood between 6-foot-1 and 6-3 and a 6-6 sophomore who managed to pulled down two rebounds.

Now compare those numbers to what the Eagles did over their previous six games.

Tech shot 41.7 percent from 3-point range; USI opponents over those six games shot just 28. …

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