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Here are some leftover notes, quotes and observations from Evansville’s victory Saturday over Missouri State. You can read my game story here.

1. The way Balentine set the scoring record was fitting.

The reason: Balentine played poorly at times and still scored 18 points. That’s what makes him a great scorer. Even on a night when his jump shot was off (and it has been for the last three games), Balentine still almost reached his 20-point average.

He was scoreless at halftime but got to the free-throw line and made 7 of 8. He was also opportunistic on getting inside for easy baskets, either on cuts into the lane or his own dribble-drives.

“It does feel great to get out of the way,” Balentine said of the record. “It’s been on my mind, and it shouldn’t have, but that’s something that’s hard to get off your mind. (My teammates) knew I had zero points at half, they knew what I needed coming into this game and they continued to look for me.”

Extra quotes on Balentine, from head coach Marty Simmons:

“Even though he didn’t score in the first half I thought he made some great plays, made some great passes,” Simmons said. “We didn’t finish well as a team, but I thought he made some great looks, was patient. Seemed like when they went to man-to-man, he shifted into another gear and was cutting at a high level. I know that everybody’s just excited for him.”

“(His teammates) set a lot of screens for him, they make a lot of passes, but at the end of the day he’s the one that has to put the ball in the basket. He sees multiple defenses, has since he got here – for sure, the last three years – and he just has a unique talent and ability to score the basketball.”

“College is a completely different game. You’ve got to step your game up, you’ve got to learn to play at a different pace, and that’s where I think D.J. deserves that credit. He was a really good scorer in high school but he’s probably been an even better scorer at this level and you’ve got to really work at it to do that.”

Balentine, on passing former teammate Colt Ryan, who was a senior when Balentine was a freshman: “We have a great relationship. We talk here and there when we can. It means a lot to pass him because when I first got here he taught me how this thing works — how I move, how I act, bring it every day in practice because it will translate to the game. To pass him is a great feeling.”

2. Balentine’s record day overshadowed a career-high performance from Jaylon Brown.

Brown was partially responsible with forcing the Bears to switch out of their zone defense. MSU laid off the 6-foot guard and he made them pay by burying perimeter jump shots.

Brown finished 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-5 from 3-point range in scoring 19 points.

“It’s really just playing off of what they do on defense. Coach always tells me to be aggressive,” Brown said.

Simmons could be heard on the sidelines urging Brown to push the ball at every opportunity. That attacking mindset seemed to carry over to the half-court offense.

“They’re hard to guard for us,” MSU coach Paul Lusk said. “We did a pretty good job on them defensively the first time with our zone. They exposed us today. Give Jaylon Brown credit; he hit some shots early and he’s really improved. He’s a great player.”

3. Christian Benzon and Willie Wiley again proved valuable off the bench.

Benzon has gotten more minutes behind Jaylon Brown in the last four games and Willie Wiley appears to have solidified himself as Egidijus Mockevicius’ top backup at center.

Benzon had four points in nine minutes Saturday and Wiley tied his season-high with eight points in 15 minutes.

“He’s gotten more playing time and anytime you get more playing time you get more confident,” Balentine said of Wiley. “He’s doing a great job giving Egidijus well-deserved rest minutes, which he needs.”

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Mislav Brzoja and Jaylon Brown scored nine points apiece, and the University of Evansville men’s basketball team closed with a six-point burst to take a 40-27 halftime lead Saturday over Missouri State.

The Aces scored first and never trailed. Evansville shot 40.6 percent from the field compared to Missouri State’s 36.7. UE also held a 12-4 advantage in made free throws and committed five fewer turnovers.

Big men Tyler McCullough and Camyn Boone led Missouri State with six points apiece. UE center Egidijus Mockevicius collected five points and nine rebounds before picking up his second foul with 5:19 left.

Aces senior D.J. Balentine entered the game 18 points short of setting the school’s all-time points record, but was held scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting. He contributed two assists and a block in 19 minutes.

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Basic info: Missouri State (10-13, 6-5 MVC) at Evansville (18-6, 7-4), 11 a.m. Saturday at the Ford Center

Preview story: Aces look to get offense moving against Missouri State

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Indiana; WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Missouri State: Dorrian Williams (6-2, Sr., G, 7.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg); Dequon Miller (5-10, Jr., G, 12.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg); Jarred Dixon (6-2, Fr., G, 7.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg); Obediah Church (6-7, Fr., F, 6.2 rpg, 1.6 bpg); Camyn Boone (6-6, Sr., F, 11.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg).

Evansville: D.J. Balentine (6-2, Sr., G, 20.7 ppg, 4.3 apg); Jaylon Brown (6-0, Jr., G, 10.8 ppg, 2.9 apg); Blake Simmons (6-5, Jr., G/F, 5.5 ppg, 3.1 apg); Adam Wing (6-4, Sr., F, 8.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg); Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Jr., C, 16.6 ppg, 14.1 rpg).

— —

Noting Missouri State: Junior-college transfer Dequon Miller has won the MVC Newcomer of the Week award five times this season. He has scored 20 or more points in three of the last five games and has reached double figures 17 times in 23 games this season. … Freshman Jarred Dixon is the reigning MVC Newcomer of the Week. He has scored in double figures in five consecutive games (13 points per game during that span). … MSU is 9-1 when shooting a higher percentage than its opponent and 1-12 when it doesn’t. … Sophomore guard Chris Kendrix (11 points per game) has come off the bench recently. He scored a career-high 21 points Tuesday against Bradley. … The Bears lead the all-time series vs. Evansville 33-30.

Noting Evansville: Senior guard D.J. Balentine is 18 points away from setting Evansville’s all-time scoring record. Colt Ryan (2009-13) holds the career mark with 2,279 points. … Center Egidijus Mockevicius moved into a tie for the national lead with his 19th double-double of the season Wednesday against Northern Iowa. He was named one of 10 finalists Friday for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, given to the top center in college basketball. … If Balentine averages 20 points or more this season, he would be the third college player in the last five years to accomplish that in three straight seasons. Tyler Haws (BYU) and Doug McDermott (Creighton) are the others. … The Aces enter Saturday having lost two consecutive games for the first time this season. … Four UE players who have logged at least 100 minutes this season shoot above 50 percent from the field: Mockevicius (66.7), Jaylon Brown (55.7), Adam Wing (54.9) and Christian Benzon (58.3). … Evansville outscored Missouri State 49-29 in the second half Jan. 2 to pull away for a 76-59 win. Mockevicius had 21 points and 21 rebounds, and the Aces shot 54.8 percent from the field while holding MSU to 37.5 percent.

Predictions: Evansville is favored by 13 1/2 points. Ken Pomeroy predicts a 79-64 UE win and gives the Aces a 92 percent chance of victory.

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Here are some leftover notes, quotes and observations from Wichita State’s victory at the sold-out Ford Center on Sunday. You can read my game story here and Randy Beard’s column here.

1. Wichita State’s depth was impressive, and necessary, in a game in which the Shockers committed 32 fouls.

Both teams ran into foul trouble (Evansville committed 25 fouls) but Wichita didn’t lose a step even when coach Gregg Marshall went deep into his bench.

Six-foot-8 freshman Markis McDuffie was part of the two-headed monster that shut down Evansville scorer D.J. Balentine for the first 30 minutes, Rashard Kelly had five points and five rebounds in 17 minutes and Anton Grady had five points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 21 minutes. Conner Frankamp only hit 2 of 10 shots but buried an important 3 in the second half and finished second on WSU with 10 points.

2. Several statistics prove just how disruptive Wichita State’s defense was.

The most obvious stat, and the one I mentioned in my game story, was Evansville’s 34.8 percent shooting, a season low. But another equally telling statistic was UE’s eight assists against 18 turnovers.

The Aces have been a solid passing team all season and have ranked among the national leaders in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, although the assist-to-turnover ratio is dropping dramatically in MVC play. UE struggled to move the ball and get open looks Sunday.

“We just weren’t knocking down shots,” Evansville guard Jaylon Brown said. “It wasn’t really anything different from the other game. We just weren’t knocking down shots or making big plays.”

Marshall noted that WSU had 20 deflections in the first half. The Shockers’ goal each game is 35.

“We were really, really disruptive in that first four-minute segment, which kind of set the tone.”

MORE QUOTES

UE coach Marty Simmons: “We really got a lot of good opportunities at the rim, especially early, and didn’t cash in. We didn’t make good decisions. How do you get better at that? We’ve got to practice harder. We need more competition in practice and then you’ve got to watch yourself play against this type of athleticism, this type of aggression and then hopefully you get another shot and your decision making’s better.”

“It’s hard to emulate these guys. They play at a high level with intensity and they speed you up. They speed your thought process and we talk about it, we show it, do our best to try to prepare for it, but you really don’t get it until you play against them.”

Balentine, who went 5-for-19 from the floor in scoring 18 points: “I had a bad game. I won’t personally have another game like that I see coming forward. I’ll be a lot better from here on out.”

Marshall, on changing the defensive game plan against Jaylon Brown: “He had a great game at our place. It was mostly my fault because I told Fred (VanVleet) you’ve got to help more, help more, help more. Jaylon Brown’s become a complete player so Fred was not able to help as much, and that’s why I love the job that those young, athletic wings did on D.J. Balentine.”

 

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The Wichita State defense suffocated Evansville in the early going Sunday, helping the Shockers take a 32-21 halftime lead at the Ford Center.

UE, shooting 52.1 percent from the field on the season, hit just 5 of 21 shots (23.8 percent) in the half. Wichita State had eight blocks and forced 12 turnovers.

Fred VanVleet led the Shockers with eight points and Ron Baker added six before sitting out the final portion of the half with two fouls.

Evansville tied the score at 10 with a Jaylon Brown 3-pointer, but the Shockers pulled away from there. Brown led the Aces with seven points and Blake Simmons added five.

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Basic info: No. 22 Wichita State (15-5, 9-0 MVC) at Evansville (18-4, 7-2), 3 p.m. Sunday at the Ford Center

Preview stories: UE set for ‘war’ against No. 22 WSU at sold-out Ford Center; Aces athletic department hopes to capitalize on Shockers’ visit

TV/Radio: ESPNU; WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Wichita State: Fred VanVleet (6-0, Sr., G, 12.2 ppg, 5.4 apg); Ron Baker (6-4, Sr., G, 14.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg); Evan Wessel (6-4, Sr., F, 4.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg); Zach Brown (6-6, So., F, 6.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg), Shaq Morris (6-8, So., C, 6.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg).

Evansville: Jaylon Brown (6-0, Jr., G, 11.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg); D.J. Balentine (6-2, Sr., G, 21.3 ppg, 4.5 apg); Blake Simmons (6-5, Jr., G/F, 5.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg); Adam Wing (6-4, Sr., F, 8.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg); Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Sr., C, 16.7 ppg, 14.2 rpg).

— —

Noting Wichita State: Coach Gregg Marshall (219 wins in nine seasons at WSU) is one game from tying basketball hall of famer Ralph Miller atop the program’s career win list. … WSU is on a 10-game winning streak for the ninth time in school history and just the second time since 1983. … The Shockers have won eight of their nine MVC games by at least 16 points. The only game closer was a 67-64 win over Evansville in Wichita. … The Shockers lead the all-time series against UE 28-16 and have won six straight versus the Aces by an average of 15.7 points. … WSU has led the MVC in rebounding margin the last eight seasons. This year, the Shockers are plus-5.4 on the glass, including plus-8.9 in conference games. … The Shockers are ranked No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the Coaches Poll. … Bracketologist Joe Lunardi listed WSU as the No. 25 overall team on his most recent NCAA tournament seed list, which would put the Shockers at a No. 7 seed.

Noting Evansville: D.J. Balentine has 2,235 career points, one behind Larry Humes for No. 2 on UE’s all-time list and 44 behind leader Colt Ryan. Balentine ranks No. 8 on the MVC’s all-time list. He passed Creighton great Doug McDermott in Thursday’s win at Southern Illinois. … Evansville has won its first 11 home games of a season for the first time since 1988-89, when the Aces went 15-0 at Roberts Stadium. … UE is ranked No. 7 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. Wichita State is No. 3 and Southern Illinois is No. 8. … Junior guard Jaylon Brown made 7 of 12 shots and scored 18 points, one shy of his career high, in the first matchup of these teams. … UE is ranked No. 64 in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and No. 54 in Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings.

Predictions: Wichita State is favored by 3 1/2 points. Pomeroy predicts a 70-69 WSU win and gives the Shockers a 57 percent chance of victory.

 

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Here are some leftover notes, quotes and observations from the Aces’ overtime win Thursday at Southern Illinois. You can read my game story here.

1. Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery should have called the game. 

The end-of-regulation sequence would have gone viral and both announcers would have permanently damaged their vocal chords.  Let’s recap the final 40 seconds: UE’s Mislav Brzoja ties it with a 3, SIU’s Leo Vincent hits what appears to a be a game-winner and sends the home crowd into a frenzy, but then — after four timeouts — Evansville’s D.J. Balentine hits a contested, step-back 3 to send it into overtime.

I imagine Johnson’s call would have sounded something like this.

2. Of course, that crazy final sequence would have likely been impossible if SIU fouled.

I rehashed the scenario in my game story: SIU had two fouls to give and four timeouts to hammer the strategy of fouling into the players’ minds before Balentine’s tying shot. Yet, it didn’t happen.

“You remember when Forrest Gump’s running down the road, he hits the mud and he wipes his face? Well, stuff happens. I’m not going to say what I want to say, but stuff happens,” SIU coach Barry Hinson said.

“There’s no way you can lose the game (if you foul). The only way you can lose the game is if they make three straight free throws. … We were going to foul every time. We talked about how to foul, how to reach with one hand. I went and talked with both officials, told them we were going to foul.”

Hinson said his players took the loss hard.

“When you’ve been in this business long enough, you’re going to have some games that you should’ve won and you don’t,” he said. “You’re going to go through some heartache and certainly this is one of those nights. I’ve been in the business a long time, guys, and this one hurt. There’s 13 guys in that locker room and some of them are crying, which I look at as a good thing. It meant a lot to them.”

3. UE coach Marty Simmons rode the hot lineup.

I’ve written in this blog recently about how Evansville’s shrinking rotation can be problematic at times, especially when UE runs into foul trouble and a seldom-used bench player is suddenly inserted into a competitive game.

But there are obvious benefits to playing the best players the maximum amount of minutes, which Evansville did on Thursday. Here is the minute rundown: Balentine (45), Adam Wing (43), Jaylon Brown (42), Egidijus Mockevicius (42), Brzoja (37), Blake Simmons (11), Christian Benzon (3), Willie Wiley (2).

The Aces played five guys an incredible amount of minutes — including the same five nearly all of the second half and overtime — but that allowed them to maintain an offensive rhythm. This lineup is difficult to stop because everyone is a threat to score; four players can drive or make outside shots and Mockevicius requires attention inside.

Brzoja had the best game of his career: a career-high 25 points, five rebounds and four assists on 9 of 12 shooting.

“He played pretty good over here last year, so maybe he likes the arena,” Marty Simmons said. “He hit some big shots. I thought he played a terrific game.”

The only UE player who appeared a bit out of sorts was Mockevicius, who had 10 points (on 4 of 4 shooting) and eight rebounds, well below his season averages. Mockevicius looked like he was getting pushed out of rebounding position more than usual and didn’t get free for as many dump-down baskets within the offense. At least three times, passes went through his hands and out of bounds, though the passes weren’t always in the perfect spot.

SIU junior Bola Olaniyan (nine points, eight rebounds) held his own against Mockevicius, but Marty Simmons said Mockevicius proved valuable on defense.

“Give Bola credit but I think Egidijus — we talked to him at halftime — he’s got to be more active in our half-court offense with screens, ducking in,” Simmons said. “Too many times he gets caught watching, but man, he made some terrific plays for us defensively. When we got beat on the dribble-drive, he blocked shots, he changed shots. He did a great job for us.”

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CARBONDALE, Ill. — Anthony Beane buried 8 of 12 field-goal attempts and scored 18 points Thursday to lead the Southern Illinois men’s basketball team to a 35-32 halftime lead over Evansville at SIU Arena.

The Salukis led 27-14 midway through the half before UE mounted a comeback. Evansville senior D.J. Balentine hit a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull the Aces within three points, the thinnest margin since it was 9-6 with 16:53 remaining in the half.

Balentine had 11 points and Mislav Brzoja 10 for UE, which shot 12 for 26 in the half but outscored SIU 6-2 at the foul line.

Southern Illinois hammered Evansville on the glass early and d finished with a 19-12 rebounding edge and an 11-2 advantage in second-chance points. Sean O’Brien had six points and three offensive rebounds for SIU but picked up two fouls. Fellow Salukis starters Bola Olaniyan and Mike Rodriguez also commited two fouls.

Beane entered the game shooting just 32.7 percent from the field over his last four games, but scored 12 points in the opening nine minutes. The 6-foot-2 senior was especially dangerous with his pull-up jump shot.

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Basic info: Evansville (17-4, 6-2 MVC) at Southern Illinois (18-3, 7-1 MVC), 7 p.m. Thursday at SIU Arena in Carbondale, Illinois.

Preview story: MVC’s top scorers, rebounders on display as Aces visit surging SIU

Live stream/Radio: ESPN3; WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Evansville: Jaylon Brown (6-0, Jr., G, 11.2 ppg, 3.0 apg); D.J. Balentine (6-2, Sr., G, 21.1 ppg, 4.5 apg); Blake Simmons (6-5, Jr., G/F, 5.5 ppg, 3.7 apg); Adam Wing (6-4, Sr., F, 8.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg); Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Sr., C, 17.0 ppg, 14.5 rpg).

Southern Illinois: Sean O’Brien (6-7, Jr., F, 12.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg); Bola Olaniyan (6-7, Jr., C, 7.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg); Mike Rodriguez (5-10, Jr., G, 9.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg); Tyler Smithpeters (6-4, Jr., G, 7.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg); Anthony Beane (6-2, Sr., G, 19.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg).

— —

Noting Evansville: D.J. Balentine is the NCAA’s active leading scorer at 2,210 points. He is 26 behind Larry Humes for No. 2 on UE’s all-time list and 69 behind career leader Colt Ryan. … The Aces are ranked No. 7 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. SIU is No. 8. … The Aces had a four-game winning streak snapped Sunday at Indiana State. UE is looking to avoid its first consecutive losses of the season. … UE assistant coach Doug Novsek holds SIU’s single-season record for 3-point field-goal percentage (.473) but is under threat from current Saluki Tyler Smithpeters (.493 so far this season). … The Aces lead the Missouri Valley Conference in field-goal percentage (.520) and field-goal percentage defense (.407).

Noting Southern Illinois: The Salukis have clinched their first winning season since 2007-08, the final year of seven consecutive postseason bids. SIU went to the NCAA tournament every year from 2002-2007, advancing to Sweet 16s in ’02 and ’07. … Smithpeters has taken 67 percent of his career shot attempts from 3-point range. … Senior guard Anthony Beane has 1,705 career points, No. 6 on SIU’s career list. His current pace would put him third on the all-time list at the end of the season. … SIU’s 18-3 start is its best since Matt Painter’s 2004 NCAA tourney team opened 24-2, including 17-0 in the MVC. … Bola Olaniyan scored a career-high 17 points Sunday against Missouri State, while Beane handed out a career-high six assists. … Junior guard Leo Vincent is the team’s second-leading scorer in MVC games (11.9 ppg).

Predictions: Evansville is favored by 2 1/2 points. Ken Pomeroy predicts a 78-77 UE win and gives the Aces a 51 percent chance of victory.

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University of Evansville junior guard Duane Gibson returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Dec. 29.

That surgery was Gibson’s third operation in six months on his meniscus, which was initially torn last June. Gibson, a starter last season, played in four games this season between the second and third surgeries.

But continued swelling in the knee forced another surgery to remove a floating piece of meniscus on the knee. Gibson rode an exercise bike and used an elliptical machine to stay in shape, but said the true test of his knee will come when he returns to practice.

“Right now, it hasn’t really been swelling at all, and that’s really a good thing,” Gibson said. “We didn’t really do much, but I think we did enough of a workout to see if it’s going to swell. The next thing is just to do contact and see how it reacts to that.”

Gibson said he has been cleared for full contact, but added the team’s trainers could hold him out of some drills as he gradually increases his participation.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I just hope it goes well this time.”

The Cleveland native started 23 games as a sophomore, averaging 5.1 points and swiping a team-high 36 steals. Fellow junior point guard Jaylon Brown has increased his minutes (29.5 per game) and scoring average (11.2 points per game) in Gibson’s absence.

Gibson is still eligible to redshirt this season if he doesn’t play in any more games.

“Coach (Marty Simmons) is really just waiting to see how I practice and see how my knee reacts, and then we’ll just talk about it then. He didn’t really want to rush it,” Gibson said.

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Here are some leftover notes, quotes and observations from Indiana State’s 82-65 win against Evansville on Sunday. You can read my game story here.

1. In UE coach Marty Simmons’ words, Evansville “didn’t give a lot of resistance.”

It started on the first possession, when Brenton Scott curled around multiple screens and swished an open 3. By the first media timeout four minutes into the game, Scott had 11 points.

“We didn’t do a very good job contesting, we didn’t give a lot of resistance,” Simmons said. “I thought they did a very good job of that with us. They scout well, they pay attention to their game plans. We’ve been pretty good with that most of the year, but we weren’t today.

“Don’t take any credit from them. They played great, but we certainly don’t want Scott catching the ball on the 3-point line in transition for 3-point shots.”

Said Scott: “I just wanted to come out and help my team. The guys were looking for me and I was able to knock down shots, just help our team get some energy going.”

2. Foul trouble hurt the Aces.

Indiana State’s run to close the first half coincided, at least in part, to Evansville guard Jaylon Brown going to the bench with two fouls. UE sixth man Mislav Brzoja also never got into the flow of the game, quickly picking up fouls seemingly every time he checked in.

The Aces are clearly not the same team when Brown, D.J. Balentine or Egidijus Mockevicius is on the bench. And while those guys are accustomed to playing heavy minutes, it is dangerous to rely so much on them because foul trouble will inevitably pop up.

Christian Benzon can play good defense at the guard spot but doesn’t provide nearly the same scoring threat as Balentine or Brown. Harris Brown came into the game Sunday and promptly attempted a three-quarter court pass to Adam Wing, and it sailed out of bounds. It was a freshman mistake by, well, a freshman, but it underlined the importance of having Jaylon Brown on the court and how much it hurts the Aces to have Duane Gibson out with a knee injury.

Evansville’s bench had some solid games in the nonconference, but it seems the coaches are increasingly relying on the Aces’ top six guys in MVC play. There is little margin for error if at least two of them aren’t playing well during a given game.

EXTRA QUOTES

Simmons, on why Mockevicius only had five field-goal attempts despite a height advantage inside: “They (the Sycamores) play hard, they play physical. That’s something where I have to be better, our players have to be better. We forced up some ill-advised, pressured shots early in the clock and didn’t give Egidijus or other players the opportunity to get some opportunities. We didn’t play with a lot of poise.”

ISU coach Greg Lansing, on defending Mockevicius (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Balentine (20 points): “We wanted to make (Mockevicius) work at both ends of the floor. He and Balentine play a lot of minutes and we tried to throw different bodies at them.”

Balentine, on continuing a tough stretch of the season. UE plays at Southern Illinois on Thursday and hosts Wichita State on Sunday: “If you’re a competitor, this is what you want. We want to go against the top guys every night. We understand that we didn’t get one here. We’ve got to get one Thursday at Southern Illinois.”

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TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State drilled 8 of 10 3-pointers en route to a 45-31 halftime lead over the University of Evansville men’s basketball team Sunday at the Hulman Center.

Sophomore Brenton Scott got the hot shooting started for ISU, burying his first five 3-point attempts — in the opening 10 minutes. Scott had 17 points for the half, finishing 5-for-6 from long range and 6-for-9 overall.

Evansville cut the lead to two with 6:35 left, but the Sycamores ended the half on a 15-2 run. Devonte Brown hit two 3s in the final 50 seconds and tallied 13 points for ISU.

Adam Wing led Evansville with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting, D.J. Balentine added eight points and Egidijus Mockevicius contributed seven points and six rebounds.