USI’s victory at Lewis on Saturday was the first this season by the Eagles when they were outrebounded. Lewis owned the boards, 35-29. In fact, 29 rebounds was USI’s lowest total in any game this season, well below its season average of 42.9 per contest. But when he was asked about this, USI coach Rodney Watson credited his team’s 60 percent first-half shooting and Lewis’ inability to get the foul line in the second half. Still, this seemed to belie the coach’s belief that pulling down more rebounds than your opponent is the key to winning, especially for the Eagles.
Or maybe this was a special case. Watson was most happy with one number: USI’s nine turnovers. That made a big difference against a team as aggressive offensively as Lewis. That number was 10 fewer than USI committed in the loss at Wisconsin-Parkside on Thursday night. Whatever he and his assistants came up with in practice on Friday did the trick on Saturday. “We gave ourselves a chance to get to the foul line and a chance to score, to just stay in the game,” said Watson. “Good teams have to get good shots.”