Men’s College Basketball: Lewis tops Southern Indiana 73-63
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media January 23, 2014 10:04PM
Updated: February 25, 2014 6:29AM
Southern Indiana brought a Top 10 Division II national ranking and a ton of size into Neil Carey Arena on Thursday night to take on Lewis.
When the Screaming Eagles jumped to a quick 7-0 lead, it seemed the smaller Flyers might be in for a long night.
No. 19 Lewis kept the opposing big men in check as Kyle Nelson provided a huge effort defensively. Ryan Jackson provided the biggest spark offensively with 20 points and the Flyers beat No. 9 Southern Indiana in Romeoville for the first time in a decade with a 73-63 Great Lakes Valley victory.
“We weren’t worried when we got down early,” Nelson said. “We knew there was a long way to go. We were never worried. The chemistry on this team is unlike anything I’ve been a part of. We trusted each other and knew we could win this game.”
Nelson held Bloom alum Aaron Nelson, who entered averaging 20.3 points and 14.2 rebounds per game, to 14 points and six rebounds. Kyle Nelson nearly matched those numbers himself, finishing with 12 points and six rebounds.
“(Aaron Nelson) is a great player and his numbers speak for himself,” Kyle Nelson said. “We wanted to come out and attack him. We had two days of preparation for the big guys and we were ready.
“Lately, I haven’t been playing up to my coaches’ and my standards, so I wanted to come out strong (Thursday).”
Ryan Jackson led Lewis (14-2, 6-2) with 20 points. Jeff Jarosz added 15, nine big ones in the first half, and Homewood-Flossmoor alum Julian Lewis had 12 points and eight rebounds.
David Niggins came off the bench to provide some strong defense inside and scored eight quick points to help the Flyers pull away late.
With Lewis clinging to a 51-48 lead, Niggins buried two three-pointers and converted a layup in a span of less than three minutes, his second trey giving Lewis a 61-51 edge with 5:35 to go.
“They were big shots, but it was my teammates who got me the ball in good positions,” Niggins said. “I stepped up and knocked them down.
“We wanted to come out and make a statement at home and we did that.”
After the Screaming Eagles (14-2, 6-2) jumped to the 7-0 lead, the Flyers got on the board a little less than four minutes in on a Kyle Nelson tip-in and went on a 10-0 run.
The rest of the first half was nip-and-tuck, ending with a 28-26 Southern Indiana lead.
Lewis’ win avenged a season-ending loss to Southern Indiana in the Great Lakes Valley Tournament quarterfinals last year.