Twelfth-ranked Southern Indiana proved defense and rebounding win games as it held visiting Urbana without a field goal for eight minutes midway through its 54-53 win on Saturday.
Urbana (1-3) was held without a basket for the last two minutes, eight seconds in the first half and the first five minutes, 53 seconds in the second half.
“We just needed to turn up the defensive intensity,” junior forward Aaron Nelson said. “Offense wasn’t flowing the way we need it to, but we came out, got three stops in a row and put the pressure on them.”
The Eagles (2-0) were out-rebounded by seven in the first half, but finished the game plus four. Junior forward Taylor Wischmeier had a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds to lead a frontcourt that is without senior forward Keith DeWitt for at least the next two weeks.
Without DeWitt, head coach Rodney Watson said the offense lacked fluidity and needs to find a way to put points on the board.
“I like our pieces,” Watson said. “We’re going to have a lot of moving parts. But, we’ve got to get in rhythm together. In 68 possessions, we need to get 68 points.”
Despite being held to just 36 percent shooting, Urbana’s perimeter play was 6-for-14 from beyond the arc. Their ability to drive and kick the ball out created everything, Watson said. The Blue Knights had an opportunity to win in the final seconds, but missed a three-pointer to give the Eagles the win.
“They were tough,” junior guard Lawrence Thomas said. “We could’ve gave in. But, we fought hard and found a way to win.”