USI tops Flyers in final seconds

Ben Kasbeer, Contributor

The men’s basketball team had one of their best seasons in a while with a record of 25-6 and a conference record of 15-3. They won the conference during the regular season but fell short in the GLVC tournament title in the semifinals in overtime. The regionals were their chance to make a run at nationals, and they were gifted with the chance to host the Midwest Regional.

In the first round of regionals, they played Grand Valley State and were able to win 65-63. Kendale Mccullum had 23 points to help his team get a last-minute win. In the next round, they played Southern Indiana who they had beat twice during the season; they were hoping to have the same result this time.

The game started evenly matched, and both teams looked to have each other’s number the whole time. The first half ended with Lewis up 30-27. They were hoping to have a better second half and get off to a fast start with good shooting beyond the three-point line and inside the paint. 

The Flyers were up by 14 with 10 minutes left and were looking to pull away from the Screaming Eagles. The game started to slip away from the Flyers when their defense fell apart, and the referees made some calls that didn’t please the players or the crowd. These calls ended up changing the course of the game, which came down to the last minute and a half. 

The Eagles and Flyers went back and forth for a while until Anthony D’Avanzo hit a 2-point jumper to make the score 61-60 with 5 seconds left. This should have been the end of the game, but a timeout and a poor defensive play by the Flyers allowed the Eagles to drive down the court and score a buzzer beater to win the game. 

“This was a bitter way for the season and my career to end, but I am proud of all these guys, and so happy we were in this position that we were,” said Mccullum at the end of the game. The Flyers still finished the season with a .806 winning percentage and a 15-3 overall conference record. They hope to learn from their mistakes in the postseason and continue to grow for next year.