Late comeback falls short for No. 25 Drury

EVANSVILLE, Ind.— Drury’s come-from-behind effort fell just short in an 86-82 loss at 12th ranked Southern Indiana on Thursday in Evansville, Indiana.

The Panthers, ranked 25th in NCAA-II, trailed by 19 in the first half, but cut the margin to 12 by halftime, 43-31. Drury opened the second half with three straight three-pointers to pull within three, 43-40.

The Screaming Eagles responded to go back up by 11 moments later, though, and owned a 59-48 lead with 11:37 remaining when the Panthers chipped away to tightened the margin down the stretch.

Cal Hartley’s three-pointer with 7:29 remaining tied the game at 69-69, but Southern Indiana took the lead back on the next possession with two free throws by Tyler Dancy. Drury knotted the game again on a lay-up by Obi Okafor, but the Screaming Eagles got back to the free throw line and went up by one as Josh Price went 1-for-2 after drawing a foul in the lane.

Drury missed two opportunities to take the lead before USI would extend the margin with two more free throws from Price and were able to hold off the Panthers down the stretch.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with how we competed,” said Drury head coach Steve Hesser. “Southern Indiana is big at every position and, give them credit, they knew we were little, went to some high-low action (offensively) and they executed it better than we defended it. But I’m proud of them and hope we can get better from this.”

Conley Garrison led the Panthers with 19 points. During the game, the junior from Bolivar, Missouri, surpassed the 1,000-point milestone in his career, becoming the 44th player in program history to eclipse that total.

Freshman Malek Davis scored a season-high 17 points while Cal Hartley added 14, and Obi Okafor finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

Josh Price, Southern Indiana’s 6-8, 250-pound center, ended the game with 24 points scoring 10 of them from the free throw line. He also added a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Screaming Eagles were 86 percent from the foul line hitting 25 of 29 attempts while Drury shot just 13 free throws converting eight. The Panthers went 31 for 61 from the floor for 51 percent while Southern Indiana was 27 for 56 for 48 percent.

The Panthers fell to 8-2 and 1-1 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference while the Screaming Eagles went to 9-1 and 1-1 in the league.

Drury continues the road trip on Saturday when they play at McKendree for a 3 pm game in Lebanon, Illinois.

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