S. Indiana tops No. 13 N. Kentucky
Eagles win third GLVC championship in program-history
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- No. 13 Southern Indiana came back from an 11-point first half deficit to win the GLVC championship and defeat No. 10 Northern Kentucky 60-56 Sunday afternoon. USI, the fifth-seed in the tournament, rises to 24-6 overall, while NKU goes to 23-6.
The GLVC tournament title is the third in the history of the program and first for USI since 2007. The conference title also came from four wins in eight days.
The victory gives the Screaming Eagles the GLVC automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament.
The Eagles struggled through the first 20 minutes and trailed by 10-points at halftime, 27-17. USI was 2-of-11 through the first 10 minutes and finished the half 5-of-24 from the field. Trips to the charity stripe kept USI in the game during the opening 20 minutes, making 6-of-8.
The second half opened more to the Eagles' liking as they outscored the Norse 12-2 in the first four minutes to tie the score 29-29. Sophomore guard Lawrence Thomas sparked a 7-0 run to tie the game with five points and an assist in less than 30 seconds.
USI began to find its shooting touch in the open minutes of the final half, hitting six of their first eight shots. Senior forward Isaac McClure also was keyed the run to tie the game with 10 points on 4-of-5 from the field and one free throw.
The Eagles took their first lead of the game since the opening bucket at 35-33 on a three-pointer by Thomas. The Norse retied the game at 35-35, but a bucket by McClure and a three-pointer by sophomore forward Austin Davis (Freeport, Illinois) gave USI its largest lead at that point of the game, 40-35, with 10:42 to play.
The margin increased to 11 points, 53-42, with 2:43 left on back-to-back buckets by McClure and a lay-up by Hogg. The Norse did not go quietly as they cut the margin to six points, 53-47, with under two minutes to play and to five points, 55-50, with 46 ticks left.
Thomas clinched the victory with four consecutive free throws, while Hogg sealed the win with one last free throw for the 60-56 final.
McClure was named the GLVC Tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high 20 points in the championship game. He also averaged 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in the four games of the GLVC Tournament.
Thomas followed McClure in the scoring column with 16 points, all coming in the second half. Hogg, who also was named to the GLVC All-Tournament team rounded out the double-figure scorers with 14 points.