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Eagles survive Miners' comeback bid

January 10, 2014


EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The eighth-ranked University of Southern Indiana men's basketball team survived a comeback bid by Missouri University of Science & Technology and posted an 81-69 victory Thursday evening in the Physical Activities Center. USI rises to 11-0 overall and 3-0 in the GLVC, while Missouri S&T falls to 5-7 overall, 0-4 GLVC.
The Screaming Eagles started strong offensively and defensively, outscoring the Miners, 29-5, and holding Missouri S&T to 14.2 percent from the field (2-14) through the first 12 minutes. Missouri S&T, however, would fight its way back into the game with a 26-11 run and cut the USI advantage to nine points, 40-31, by the intermission.
After the Miners cut the Eagles' lead to seven points to start the second half, USI tried to take back command by pushing the lead to 13 points, 48-35. Missouri S&T chipped away at the USI lead once again, this time with a 7-0 run, and trailed the Eagles, 48-42, with 13:36 remaining.
The Eagles' offense would roll for the four minutes and post their largest leads of the second half, 14 points, twice, including a 60-46 margin with 9:38 left to play. Missouri S&T did not back down and used a 16-6 dash to cut the USI's advantage to four points, 66-62, with 5:04 to play.
USI finished the game the way it started the contest with a strong 15-7 run in the final five minutes to put the evening into the win column, 81-69. USI senior forwards Orlando Rutledge (Louisville, Kentucky) and Aaron Nelson (Chicago Heights, Illinois) sealed the victory with a combined five free throws down the stretch.
The free throws in the two minutes capped off a monster double-double for Nelson. The senior forward posted a 20-20 game with 24 points and 23 rebounds to lead four Eagles in double-figures. The double-double was Nelson's USI-record 11th in a row.
USI senior forward Manny Ogunfolu (Rockville, Maryland) followed Nelson with 12 points, while Rutledge and junior guard Gavin Schumann (Cincinnati, Ohio) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points each.
As a team, USI continued its season-long dominance of the boards, outrebounding Missouri S&T, 51-30.
The Eagles complete the first half of the four-game homestand Saturday when it hosts the reigning NCAA Division II national champion and third-ranked Drury University. Drury saw it record fall to 11-1 overall and 3-1 in the GLVC after losing to second-ranked Bellarmine University, 85-77, tonight in Louisville, Kentucky. 

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