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Greyhounds face tough road tests at Bellarmine, USI

January 16, 2014


Thursday, Jan. 16, 8 p.m. ET, Louisville, Ky.
14 UIndy Greyhounds (11-1, 3-1) at 2 Bellarmine Knights (12-0, 4-0)
audio  |  video  |  live stats  |  game notes

Saturday, Jan. 18, 4:15 p.m. ET, Evansville, Ind.
14 UIndy Greyhounds (11-1, 3-1)* at 10 Southern Indiana Eagles (11-1, 3-1)*
audio  |  video  |  live stats  |  game notes

*through Jan. 13

The Greyhounds face a pair of top-10 teams this week in arguably their toughest GLVC road trip of the season.  UIndy travels to No. 2 Bellarmine Thursday night, followed by a visit to 10th-ranked Southern Indiana Saturday afternoon.

The last remaining undefeated team in the GLVC and one of only seven in the nation, the Knights enter the week tied with Wisconsin-Parkside atop the GLVC East standings.  Unlike previously-unbeaten teams Drury, Lewis and Southern Indiana, the Knights escaped last week unscathed, highlighted by an 85-77 home win over the aforementioned and then-third-ranked Drury Panthers.

Statistically, Bellarmine tops the GLVC in scoring margin (+17.0), field goal percentage defense (.397), assists (19.4 apg) and blocked shots (6.0 bpg).  The Knights also lead the GLVC, as well as all of Division II in field goal percentage (.558).

The biggest reasons for the latter are junior Jake Thelen (.796) and senior Keisten Jones (.694), as they rank first and fifth, respectively, in D-II in FG percentage.

Defensively, the Hounds will need to keep track of 6-10 sophomore George Suggs, who leads the conference and ranks 12th in D-II in blocks (2.7 bpg).

Bellarmine is 7-0 at home this season and an amazing 40-1 in its last 41 games in Knights Hall.  Its lone home loss in the last 23 months came to UIndy on Feb. 7, 2013.  More on that below.

The Knights have qualified for the NCAA Tournament each of the previous five years under head coach Scott Davenport.  BU advanced to the regional final (third round) last season, the Final Four in 2012 and won the national title in 2011.

Last season, Bellarmine was the only team UIndy faced more than twice, with the Knights taking two of the three meetings.  BU defeated the Hounds, 77-68, at Nicoson Hall Jan. 26, but UIndy returned the favor two weeks  later, downing the Knights, 64-62, on their home court.  The Hounds' victory snapped BU's impressive 29-game home winning streak - the longest in Division II at the time.

The grudge match came in the opening round of the NCAA Midwest Regional, with Bellarmine coming out on top, 67-61.

Overall, the Knights hold a 48-41 edge in 89 all-time meetings.  Separated by just 115 miles, the two teams first met during the 1955-56 season, with UIndy (then called Indiana Central College) defeating the Knights, 95-86.

Ranked 10th in the latest Division II coaches poll, USI enters its game versus Saint Joseph's Thursday with the exact same record as UIndy: 11-1 overall and 3-1 in the GLVC.  In fact, both team's only loss to date came at the hands of the same team, Drury.

USI dropped a home game, 64-56, to the No. 3 Panthers last Saturday.  The Eagles' point total and field goal percentage (.328) each marked season lows, with the latter good for the lowest by a USI team since November of 2002.  Southern Indiana also went 0-for-11 from behind the arc versus Drury to become the first GLVC team to go without a 3-pointer in a game this season.

USI easily leads the GLVC in rebounding margin at +18.2, with second-place UIndy at +10.2.

Senior forward Aaron Nelson is the league's second-leading scorer (21.9 ppg) and top rebounder (14.3 rpg).  He has recorded a double-double in every game this season, including a monster 24-point, 23-rebound output versus Missouri S&T last Thursday.

Like UIndy, the Eagles are looking for their fourth straight NCAA Tournament berth this March.  As the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional last season, USI lost to three-seeded Bellarmine, 78-55, in the second round.

UIndy is just 18-52 (.257) all-time versus USI.  The Eagles swept the regular season series last season, winning 69-55 at home Jan. 19, and taking the Feb. 14 meeting at Nicoson Hall, 87-62.

UIndy's last win versus USI came in a 65-59 final at Nicoson Hall on Feb. 4, 2012.

As two of the best teams in the GLVC this season, it's surprising to note that Bellarmine and Southern Indiana are two of only five teams in the conference that have committed more turnovers than they've forced.  In fact, the Knights and Eagles rank 15th and 16th, respectively, in the 16-team GLVC in turnover margin.

Conversely, UIndy is second in the league in the stat, averaging +4.4 turnovers per game compared to -2.3 for Bellarmine and -2.6 for USI.

UIndy notched a pair of wins against GLVC West teams last week, handing Rockhurst a convincing 85-59 defeat Thursday, followed by a thrilling 84-82 win versus William Jewell Saturday.

Both game's featured big moments for senior Reece Cheatham, who scored his 1,000th career point Thursday and hit the game-winning free throws Saturday.

50/50 CHANCE
At 52.2 percent, UIndy ranks fourth in the GLVC and sixth in the nation in field goal accuracy.  An amazing eight Greyhounds are connecting on at least half their FG attempts, with Joe Lawson (.632) and Jared Grady (.617) ranking sixth and eighth in the conference, respectively.

Topping both of them is junior starter Brennan McElroy, who has made an impressive 71 percent of his shots.  He currently does not qualify among the league leaders, however, as he is just two buckets short of the arbitrary three-FGs-per-game minimum.

The Hounds have amassed 118 steals in 12 games to date.  The resulting 9.8 steals-per-game average is good for tops in the GLVC and 10th in Division II.  In the program annals, the only Greyhound team with a higher average is the 1999-2000 squad, who racked up 10.1 steals per contest to set the team record.

The Greyhounds leapfrogged five spots to 14th in the latest NABC/Division II Top 25 Poll.  The Hounds have received votes in seven consecutive polls and have now been in the top 25 the last five.  Below is the team's week-by-week position in the poll.

Preseason -
Nov. 19 -
Nov. 26 RV
Dec. 3 RV
Dec. 10 23
Dec. 17 21
Dec. 31 16
Jan. 7 19
Jan. 14 14

In addition, with the UIndy women's basketball team also ranked 14th, UIndy is one of only three Division II schools with both basketball teams ranked in the top 15 of their respective polls.

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