Speaking of a season-long problem, remember last year’s problem for USI? Yep, the Eagles couldn’t beat a zone defense. Teams would pack it in and USI would helplessly stand around the perimeter, throwing up 3-pointers that didn’t often go in or passing the ball inside only to see it stripped away. That’s not been as much of a problem this season, with Aaron Nelson, Keith DeWitt and Orlando Rutledge slicing and dicing defenses.
With the exception of Thursday night, of course. USI raced out to an 8-2 lead at Illinois-Springfield, with DeWitt looking like he was going to have one of those monster games he’s capable of. Then it all fizzled. The Prairie Stars turned out to have a very capable big man in 6-10 Dylan Sparkman. Although he got into foul trouble, he still messed up both DeWitt and Nelson enough that they never got into a rhythm offensively.