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D.J. Balentine scored 11 points to lead Evansville to a 40-36 lead over Indiana State at the end of a foul-plagued first half Tuesday at the Ford Center.

The teams combined for 25 fouls and 31 free-throw attempts.

Evansville held its largest lead at seven after Blake Simmons scored a layup with 39 seconds left, but Adam Wing fouled Indiana State’s Devonte Brown while Brown attempted a fall-away 3-pointer with two seconds remaining. Brown buried all three free throws.

Brenton Scott led the Sycamores with 10 points, while Brown and Justin Gant added eight apiece.

Backup guard Taylor Stafford posted six points for UE, while Egidijus Mockevicius collected five points and six rebounds.

Five players from each team have two fouls at the intermission.

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Basic info: Indiana State (10-10, 6-2 MVC) at Evansville (15-5, 5-3 MVC), 7 p.m. CST Tuesday at the Ford Center

Preview story: Balentine, ISU defenders share mutual respect

TV/Radio: ESPN3; WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Indiana State: Devonte Brown (6-2, Jr., G, 12.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg); Brenton Scott (6-1, Fr., G, 11.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg); Khristian Smith (6-6, Jr., F, 10.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg); Justin Gant (6-9, Sr., F, 9.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg); Jake Kitchell (6-10, Sr., C, 7.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg).

Evansville: Duane Gibson (6-3, So., G, 5.5 ppg, 2.3 apg); D.J. Balentine (6-2, Jr., G, 19.8 ppg, 3.4 apg); Blake Simmons (6-5, So., G/F, 7.9 ppg, 2.5 apg); Jaylon Moore (6-7, Sr., F, 3.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg); Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Jr., C, 13.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg).

——

Noting Indiana State: The Sycamores have made five consecutive trips to the postseason, including the NCAA tournament in 2011 and the NIT in 2013 and 2014. … Devonte Brown is coming off a career-high 24 points in Saturday’s 72-61 victory against Loyola. Brown buried six 3-pointers in the game. … Jake Kitchell and Alex Etherington both scored their career highs in ISU’s last matchup against Evansville, a 79-75 overtime victory Jan. 4 in Terre Haute. Kitchell posted 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Etherington tallied 13 points. … Seven different ISU players have led the team in scoring this season.

Noting Evansville: Entering this week, Egidijus Mockevicius was tied for the national lead with 14 double-doubles. He holds the Aces’ single-season Division I record. … The Aces are looking to match their MVC win total from last season halfway through the conference slate. UE finished the 2013-14 campaign 14-19 overall and 6-12 in the MVC. … D.J. Balentine bounced back from a season-low six points against Loyola to score 25 in the Aces’ win over Southern Illinois on Saturday. Balentine has scored in double figures in 18 games this season and has surpassed 20 points 13 times. … Junior guard Taylor Stafford has scored only 29 points this season, but 13 came in the last two games. Stafford drilled a pair of 3-pointers in each of those contests.

——

Predictions: UE is favored by 6 1/2 points. Ken Pomeroy predicts a 73-63 Evansville win and gives the Aces an 83 percent chance at victory.

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You know how when you get your photo taken and all you see are brightly colored blobs? Well, I couldn’t shake that sensation until about 5 p.m. today, but instead of blobs I just saw an endless loop of silhouettes shooting free throws. It was brutal.

Yes, Evansville’s win Saturday over Southern Illinois turned into a bit of a free-throw shooting contest. Both teams shot 81 percent from the line, but Evansville had 43 attempts compared to 27 for SIU. It made for a choppy game, and probably a boring one to watch on TV. Heck, it lasted about 2 1/2 hours and didn’t even go to overtime.

Anyway, now that I have those basic observations out of the way, here are some (slightly) more astute conclusions about Saturday’s contest, supplemented by postgame quotes:

1. UE’s D.J. Balentine got his offense going by being aggressive in transition.

This was important for the UE star, who has found that MVC teams that are familiar with the Aces are better at locking onto him in UE’s half-court offense. Against SIU, Balentine made his three 3-pointers by flowing into the shots before the Saluki defense was set.

These 3s still ended up being contested, but Balentine was able to lock onto the rim and step straight into the shots. He finished 6 of 11 from the field, 3 of 5 from 3-point range and 10 of 13 from the foul line in scoring a game-high 25 points. Five of his six field goals were jump shots, a strong performance on the heels of his lowest-scoring game of the year (six points Wednesday at Loyola).

“We talked about that in our scouting report, that he’s gonna make some tough shots,” SIU coach Barry Hinson said. “The kid scores 25 points today on 11 shots, which is a fantastic stat. We knew he was going to make some tough shots, and we said … ‘Don’t let your head down.’ We got our head down.”

2. Evansville’s bench came up big for the second consecutive game.

UE’s bench outscored SIU’s 26-16. Notable performances from the Aces’ subs included: Adam Wing, nine points and six rebounds in 29 minutes, his most since returning from a strained quadriceps injury; Taylor Stafford, 2-for-3 from 3-point range en route to seven points (his second straight game with a pair of 3s); Christian Benzon, 2-for-2 from the field in scoring five points while playing his normal sturdy defense; and Jaylon Brown, four points and four assists compared to just one turnover.

“We feel like our bench is developing,” UE coach Marty Simmons said.

The improving bench is the most encouraging sign from the Aces’ past two wins. With Mislav Brzoja sidelined with a broken hand and Wing still returning to full strength, other players have shown they can contribute.

Obviously, the Aces would be a better team if Brzoja were still available, but relying on different guys while he recovers could ultimately help UE. Stafford and Benzon, in particular, seem to be growing more comfortable offensively and could give Evansville more weapons as the season progresses.

3. SIU has some young talent.

The Salukis have just one senior, Dawson Verhines, and nine underclassmen. I was impressed with 6-foot-7 forwards Bola Olaniyan and Jordan Caroline and 6-2 freshman guard Deion Lavender. Each of those players were strong and athletic for the positions they play in the MVC, so I could see the Salukis improving pretty drastically over the next two seasons.

4. Hinson called Bosse High School graduate Jalen Pendleton SIU’s “spark.”

Since Pendleton is an Evansville native, I asked Hinson about the 6-foot-2 junior in the postgame press conference. Pendleton recorded eight points and five rebounds Saturday after averaging 7.1 points and 3.3 boards entering the contest:

“The thing that Jalen does for us is he gives us a spark,” Hinson said. “He always has. He’s limited in terms of what he can do offensively but he can really dictate the game offensively by sharing the basketball. … Today, late in the game, he was aggressive wanting to get to the basket and doing the things we ask him to do. He’s our spark and when he accepts his role — which he has and he’s matured an awful lot — he’s really been an asset for us.”

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D.J. Balentine knocked down all three of his 3-point attempts and scored 14 points to lead the University of Evansville men’s basketball team to a 39-24 halftime lead Saturday against Southern Illinois.

The Aces shot 11 of 18 from the field, 5 of 7 from 3-point range and 12 of 13 from the free-throw line to help offset 10 turnovers.

Anthony Beane led the Salukis with 13 points, but no other SIU player had more than four. SIU turned the ball over 12 times.

SIU grabbed an early lead but the Aces went on a 14-0 run to take a 16-7 advantage. UE also went on runs of 7-0 and 9-2 later in the half.

Evansville center Egidijus Mockevicius collected eight points and three rebounds, burying all six of his free-throw attempts.

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Basic info: Southern Illinois (9-11, 2-5 MVC) at Evansville (14-5, 4-3), 3 p.m. CST Saturday at the Ford Center

Preview story: Stafford making progress for Aces

TV/Radio: Game broadcast on Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports Midwest and ESPN3 (outside of the Midwest); WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Southern Illinois: Jordan Caroline (6-7, Fr., F, 9.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg); Sean O’Brien (6-6, So., F, 9.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg); Bola Olaniyan (6-7, So., C, 5.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg); Tyler Smithpeters (6-3, So., G, 4.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg); Anthony Beane (6-2, Jr., G, 16.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg).

Evansville: D.J. Balentine (6-2, Jr., G, 19.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg); Duane Gibson (6-3, So., G, 5.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg); Jaylon Moore (6-7, Sr., F, 3.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg); Blake Simmons (6-5, So., G/F, 8.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg); Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Jr., C, 13.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg).

——

Noting the Salukis: SIU has won two straight games after opening 0-5 in MVC play. … The Salukis’ 70-59 win over Bradley on Wednesday snapped a six-game streak in which SIU didn’t reach 60 points. … Anthony Beane began MVC play 1-for-26 from 3-point range but hit 4 of 7 against Bradley. … Jordan Caroline ranks third in scoring and rebounding among MVC freshmen. He is the son of former Illinois and NFL linebacker Simeon Rice. … According to Ken Pomeroy, the Salukis rank 329 out of 351 Division I teams in experience. SIU’s players boast an average of 1.06 years of experience. … Former Bosse High School standout Jalen Pendleton is a key bench player for the Salukis. The 6-foot-2 junior averages 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game.

Noting the Aces: Junior center Egidijus Mockevicius has 14 double-doubles in 19 games this season. As of earlier this week, he was tied for the national lead in double-doubles. … The Aces are honoring their 29-0 1964-65 national championship team at the game. … UE was ranked No. 13 in the CollegeInsider mid-major top 25 poll this week. … Eighth-year head coach Marty Simmons is off to his best start with the Aces. … Junior shooting guard D.J. Balentine has been held to single-digit scoring in two of his last three games (against Loyola and Missouri State). Those contests mark the first time Balentine has scored fewer than 12 points this season.

——

Predictions: The Aces are favored by 8 1/2 points. Ken Pomeroy predicts a 66-56 Evansville win and gives UE an 87 percent chance at victory.

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Leftover notes, quotes and observations from Saturday’s game (you can read my game story here).

1. The Shockers proved why they’re one of the best road teams in the country.

Wichita State is now 43-9 in road games since 2010-11, and it’s easy to see why. The Shockers grabbed an early lead, never trailed and gave a season-high Ford Center crowd hoping to go nuts no reason to go nuts.

It was striking to watch a team with supremely confident, poised players come into an environment like that and just go about its business. Most teams have a couple of players that have that air of confidence, but Wichita State’s entire group exuded that swagger.

2. Wichita State disrupted Evansville’s offense far more than any other team this season. Here’s how … 

The Aces shot a season-low 30 percent and scored a season-low 41 points because the Shockers allowed almost zero dribble penetration and — as WSU coach Gregg Marshall pointed out — very few “penetrating passes.” With that, the Aces — who normally have high assist numbers and share the ball well —weren’t able to collapse the defense and create openings for good shots.

This led to:

  • No one getting close to double figures in points other than D.J. Balentine, who required 17 field-goal attempts to score 16 points. It was still a solid performance from Balentine considering how little help he was getting offensively, how much attention the Shockers gave him and the fact that he was being chased by the reigning MVC Defensive Player of the Year, Tekele Cotton.
  • Blake Simmons (four points) and Egiidjus Mockevicius (season-low two points) having subpar offensive games. Both players are capable of scoring in double figures but need teammates to set them up for their preferred shots. Neither is adept at creating his own offense. Because the other Aces couldn’t puncture Wichita State’s defense at all, Simmons and Mockevicius struggled.

Wichita State’s defense was the story of the game. Aside from Balentine getting loose for layups on a couple of curl cuts, the Aces weren’t able to dictate much on the offensive end. It also hurt Evansville that Mislav Brzoja played most of the game with a broken hand and Adam Wing only practiced for two days since straining his quadriceps on Dec. 21 before being thrown into the fire.

UE coach Marty Simmons said Wichita State’s effort alone saved a couple of baskets. Plus, the Aces missed a few shots inside that they normally make, but the Shockers should be credited for taking UE out of rhythm in the first place.

“We missed a lot of buckets on the interior,” Simmons said. “I really felt like when we did the things that we practiced, we got some pretty good looks but we didn’t capitalize. Where they’re different is they play so hard, even when they’re behind you they made a couple great blocks.

“In shooting drills in practice, instead of going 75 percent, you gotta go 110 percent. You got to prepare in practice how you play in games, and it caught up with us today.”

3. Darius Carter and Shaquille Morris did a nice job battling Mockevicius on the interior.

Mockevicius finished with four blocks, but was held to two points and eight rebounds. His streak of consecutive double-doubles was snapped at nine.

Meanwhile, Carter had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Morris added nine points and three rebounds.

4. On a positive note for UE, Jaylon Moore produced the highlight of the game.

I didn’t fully appreciate his alley-oop finish over two Shockers until seeing this post from the MVC Twitter account after the game.

Moore and others tweeted Saturday night that the highlight made the cut for SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays, but it had been bumped off the list by the time I watched a late-night edition of the ESPN show. I think it replaced a Moore tip-dunk from earlier this season as the Aces’ best slam thus far this season.

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No. 13 Wichita State held Evansville without a point for more than nine minutes to take a 28-18 halftime lead Saturday at the Ford Center.

The Shockers put together a 10-0 run during Evansville’s scoreless stretch, which was finally ended with D.J. Balentine’s 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds remaining. Balentine led all scorers with 11 points in the half.

Ron Baker led a balanced Wichita State effort with seven points. Fred VanVleet and Darius Carter each scored five, and Shaquille Morris and Tekele Cotton added four apiece.

Only three scorers scored for Evansville: Balentine, Mislav Brzoja (five points) and Duane Gibson (two points). Adam Wing received his first minutes since straining his quadriceps Dec. 21 against Alabama State.

Morris and VanVleet each have two fouls for Wichita State, and Evansville starting center Egidijus Mockevicius also has two fouls.

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Basic info: No. 13 Wichita State (15-2, 5-0 MVC) at Evansville (13-4, 3-2), 1 p.m. CST Saturday at the Ford Center

Preview stories: Shockers visit draws crowd, cash for UE hoopsUE’s Wing could return for Wichita State game

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Indiana; WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Wichita State: Evan Wessel (6-4, Jr., F, 3.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg); Darius Carter (6-7, Sr., F, 12.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg); Fred VanVleet (6-0, Jr., G, 10.7 ppg, 5.6 apg); Ron Baker (6-4, Jr., G, 16.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg); Tekele Cotton (6-3, Sr., G, 10.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg).

Evansville: Duane Gibson (6-3, So., G, 5.5 ppg, 2.5 apg); D.J. Balentine (6-2, Jr., G, 20.5 ppg, 3.7 apg); Blake Simmons (6-5, So., G/F, 8.0 ppg, 2.4 apg); Mislav Brzoja (6-6, So., F, 9.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg); Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Jr., C, 6-10, 13.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg).

——

Noting Wichita State: The Shockers have won 23 straight MVC games, including 11 in a row on the road. Wichita State’s 42-9 road record since 2010-11 leads the nation. … Senior forward Darius Carter has posted two of his top three scoring games in WSU’s last two contests. Carter had 19 points Jan. 7 against Bradley and a career-high 25 Wednesday against Southern Illinois. … Conference opponents are shooting just 36 percent from the field against the Shockers. … Ron Baker ranks third in the MVC in scoring while Fred VanVleet ranks first in assists.

Noting Evansville: Egidijus Mockevicius has recorded nine straight double-doubles. He has 13 already this season, a UE Division I record. … Mislav Brzoja has averaged 14 points per game over his last four outings. … The Aces are coming off back-to-back MVC road wins against Bradley and Missouri State, the first time UE has won consecutive road league games since 1999. … D.J. Balentine hasn’t been as dominant of a scorer during MVC play. He is averaging 15.8 points in five league games, compared to 20.5 points per game for the season. … Adam Wing, who started 11 games before straining a quadriceps muscle, could return after sitting out the Aces’ last six games. … The Aces lead the MVC in scoring (74.6 ppg) and are shooting 51 percent from the field.

——

Three keys from the Evansville perspective:

1. Can Balentine and the Aces get on track offensively?

The Shockers might be the top defensive team in the MVC, while UE is among the best offensive teams. The Aces will need Balentine to have a strong shooting night to have a chance to pull the upset. Balentine scored a season-low seven points Wednesday at Missouri State, but hit the game-winning shot.

2. Will Mockevicius give the Aces an inside advantage?

Wichita State’s backcourt is regarded as one of the best in the country, but the Shockers’ frontcourt players are no slouches, either. Darius Carter is coming off a career-high 25 points against SIU and is second on the team in scoring.

However, if there’s one position the Aces have a major advantage, it’s center. Carter gives up three inches to Mockevicius, who is blowing away the competition in the MVC rebounding race. Mockevicius gave WSU all it could handle last season at the Ford Center, making 7 of 7 field goals and 5 of 5 free throws en route to 19 points and 10 rebounds.

3. What will UE get from Adam Wing?

Wing returned to practice Thursday for the first time since straining his quadriceps on Dec. 21 against Alabama State. Chances are he sees some action today, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to play at his normal level, and for how long.

Wing said Friday he is still regaining his conditioning. Meanwhile, Mislav Brzoja has filled in well for Wing in the starting lineup, so the Aces could just use Wing for spot minutes until he completely returns to form.

——

Predictions: Wichita State is favored by 6 1/2 points. Ken Pomeroy predicts a 67-63 Shockers win and gives WSU a 69 percent chance of victory.

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The University of Evansville has signed head women’s soccer coach Krista McKendree to a three-year contract extension.

McKendree, the only All-American in UE women’s soccer history, began her coaching career at Evansville in 2005 as an assistant before taking over the head coaching position in 2008.

“I’m very excited and thankful to (athletic director Mark) Spencer for his willingness to extend my contract and my security as far as running the program,” McKendree said. “This is where I want to coach and this feels good to know that I have at least three years.”

McKendree led the Purple Aces to the 2008 Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship and tournament championship, with the Aces making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance.

She guided the team to another regular-season title in 2012 and is coming off an 11-6-3 season that saw UE enter the MVC Tournament as the No. 2 seed before advancing to the championship game.

The Aces placed three players on the 2014 National Soccer Coaches Association of America all-region teams. Sophomore midfielder Bronwyn Boswell and senior defender Taylor Brand were named to the All-Great Lakes Region second team, while junior goalkeeper Simone Busby was a third-team selection.

“I think we’ve been making positive strides over the last couple of years,” McKendree said. “I’m very excited for the potential that we have to compete at the top of our conference. We’ve been building toward that and we’ve been continuing to recruit the quality of player that we need to have to be successful.”

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The University of Evansville men’s basketball team shot 14 of 15 from the foul line Wednesday to overcome a poor performance from the field and take a 31-25 halftime lead over Missouri State at JQH Arena.

Evansville shot just 7-for-22 from the floor compared to Missouri State’s 10 of 29, but the Bears made only three free throws.

UE’s Jaylon Brown scored 10 points off the bench to lead all scorers. Chris Kendrix scored eight points for Missouri State but played only nine minutes because he picked up three fouls.

The Aces led by 12 after a D.J. Balentine 3-pointer with 4:14 left, but MSU closed the half on a 5-0 run, which included Camyn Boone’s layup with one second remaining.

Mislav Brzoja had nine points for UE, and Egidijus Mockevicius chipped in four points and eight rebounds.

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Basic info: Evansville (12-4, 2-2 MVC) at Missouri State (8-8, 2-2), 7:05 p.m. CST at JQH Arena in Springfield, Missouri.

Preview story: Mockevicius on cusp of UE’s single-season record for double-doubles

Radio: WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Evansville: Duane Gibson (6-3, So., G, 5.8 ppg, 2.5 apg); D.J. Balentine (6-2, Jr., G, 21.4 ppg, 3.8 apg); Blake Simmons (6-5, So., G/F, 8.3 ppg, 2.4 apg); Mislav Brzoja (6-6, So., G/F, 8.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg); Egiidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Jr., C, 13.7 ppg, 10.8 rpg).

Missouri State: Dorrian Williams (6-3, Jr., G, 7.4 ppg, 4.6 apg); Austin Ruder (6-3, So., G, 8.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg); Loomis Gerring (6-5, Jr., F, 6.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg); Camyn Boone (6-6, Jr., F, 7.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg); Tyler McCullough (6-11, So., C, 4.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg).

——

Three key questions:

1. How will Missouri State play without their top scorer, Marcus Marshall?

Evansville’s Balentine and MSU’s Marshall are No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the MVC scoring race. Both players put up 20 points routinely and are capable of going for 30 or more.

But the Bears will be without their top gun. It was announced Wednesday that Marshall is suspended indefinitely “for conduct detrimental to the team.”

We’ll see how MSU responds without its primary scorer. Sometimes, teams can rally and play well for a couple of games despite a loss like this. Of course, others fall flat with less-skilled players on the court.

2. Will Mockevicius claim UE’s single-season double-doubles record?

Chances are pretty good he will. The Aces’ 6-foot-10 center already has 12 double-doubles this season, tying Richie Johnson’s mark from 1984-85.

Dating back to last season, Mockevicius has 19 double-doubles in his last 26 games. The big man has avoided foul trouble for the most part recently, allowing him to play at least 31 minutes in the Aces’ last eight games.

3. Can the Aces continue their improved road play?

Evansville has gone 3-1 in true road games this season, dropping the one loss in overtime at Indiana State. The Aces only won three road games all of last season.

——

Predictions: Evansville is favored by 3 1/2 points. Ken Pomeroy predicts the Aces will win 67-64 and gives UE a 62 percent chance of victory.

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Leftover notes, quotes and observations from Evansville’s win over Bradley on Saturday (you can read my game story here):

1. Due to foul trouble and Adam Wing’s continued absence, the Aces played some different lineups than they have all season.

With Duane Gibson fouling out and Mislav Brzoja and Blake Simmons both dealing with foul trouble (they finished with four apiece), the Aces got creative with their lineup combinations.

Taylor Stafford played 16 minutes, his most against a Division I opponent this season. Christian Benzon played 15 minutes. And the Aces had stretches when both point guards — Gibson and Jaylon Brown — were in the game so either Simmons or Brzoja could sit out.

The different substitution patterns sometimes hindered the offensive flow for the Aces, but everyone contributed enough to pull out a road win.

“We survived,” Evansville coach Marty Simmons said. “That’s about all I can say. We survived and we’ve gotta get better.”

2. Evansville surrendered fewer easy baskets.

I don’t want to read too much into Evansville’s improved defensive performance this game because it came against Bradley, the lowest-scoring team in the MVC. The Braves shot just 32.1 percent from the field on Saturday, but part of that was because they’re a struggling offensive team.

“They guarded us exactly how we thought they’d guard us,” Bradley coach Geno Ford said of the Aces. “We have to make some jump shots with them packing the lane.”

Yes, Bradley missed some jump shots, but the biggest positive from the Aces’ perspective is that they were able to limit easy baskets. UE has been susceptible to getting beat off the dribble and allowing that ballhandler to score or dish to a teammate for a layup after drawing a second defender.

That happened plenty against Loyola but rarely happened Saturday. As a result, Bradley went through a stretch where it missed 13 straight field goals in the second half, allowing the Aces to take control.

3. Evansville changed the script of its previous losses.

The Aces were in a similar situation Saturday as they were against Loyola and Indiana State — ahead five to seven points with less than four minutes left. Rather than having the lead melt away and suffering another brutal loss, UE stretched the lead to as many as 11 and kept the Braves at arm’s reach.

““These past two games have been really rough,”said UE guard D.J. Balentine, who scored a game-high 22 points. “I think it’s a confidence booster for us now.”

——

Quick hits: Marty Simmons pointed out turnovers (16 total, including seven in the first eight minutes) and defensive rebounding (Bradley pulled down 14 offensive boards) as the two biggest areas the Aces needed to improve. … I could see Bradley making a jump in the MVC next year. The Braves play solid defense, have only one senior and boast a very good freshman in Josh Cunningham, a 6-foot-7 forward who posted 10 points and nine rebounds against UE. Cunningham, who was a top 100 recruit out of Morgan Park High School in Chicago, entered Saturday’s contest second in the MVC with 7.0 rebounds per game. … This was a rare game when Evansville outscored its opponent from the 3-point line. The Aces hit five 3s compared to Bradley’s three.