Yale Bulldogs (0-2) at Evansville Purple Aces (0-2)
Coaches vs. Cancer Classic
Game Time: 7:35 p.m. Friday
Location: Ford Center
Broadcast: 91.5 WUEV, Aces TV
Spread: UE -8 at Vegas Insider
UE’s Probable Starters: Ned Cox, Troy Taylor, Colt Ryan (injured), Lewis Jones, Ryan Sawvell
Yale’s Probable Starters: Brandon Sherrod, Justin Sears, Jesse Pritchard, Austin Morgan and Javier Duren
Last Meeting: Yale won 92-83 in December of 1961 in the teams’ only prior game.
Nov. 15: Colt Ryan injured in UE’s Coaches vs. Cancer loss to Buffalo
Nov. 15: Quotes from UE’s 56-50 loss to Buffalo
Nov. 15: Official Yale athletics preview
Nov. 14: Plenty for Aces to learn with three games in as many nights
Nov. 14: Yale stifled by St. Joseph’s defense
—UE has dropped its first two games and could be without leading scorer Colt Ryan. Ryan left the Aces’ 56-50 loss to Buffalo in the first half with an apparent hip injury and didn’t return.
—Ryan has led Evansville in scoring 51 times during his collegiate career, including the Aces’ season-opener against Notre Dame. With the senior sitting most of Thursday’s game, UE’s bench out-scored its starters 28-22.
—Yale, picked sixth of eight teams in the preseason Ivy League poll, enters off losses to Sacred Heart of the Northeastern Conference and St. Joseph’s, its regional opponent in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Bulldogs blew a lead in their Sacred Heart loss and were defeated in blowout fashion by St. Joseph’s.
—Yale senior guard Austin Morgan earned a number of preseason honors, among them first-team all-league by the Blue Ribbon Yearbook and second-team recognition from College Sports Madness as well as Lindy’s. Morgan has averaged 16 points per game so far this season.
—Freshman Egidijus Mockevicius provided a boost for UE off the bench against Buffalo, scoring a career-high 12 points. Just as important, the 6-foot-10 center committed one foul in 15 minutes played.
—Seniors Lewis Jones and Ned Cox both reached double figures for the first time this season in the Buffalo game. Jones had a team-high 14 points, and Cox chipped in 12.
—UE’s shooting woes continued. Off a 31.1 percent shooting day against Notre Dame, the Aces went 20 of 58 from the field (34.5 percent) and hit on just 3 of 19 3-point attempts versus Buffalo.
—The Buffalo loss snapped a streak of four straight home-opening wins by the Aces. Their Ford Center record is now 11-8.
—UE’s 50-point output was its lowest so far in the Ford Center. The previous low was 60 points against Drake on Jan. 13. The Buffalo loss also marked UE’s lowest overall and 3-point field goal percentage efforts in the building.
—Missouri Valley Conference teams are 15-3 overall. Two of those losses belong to UE; the other is Indiana State’s road defeat at UCLA.
—With Adam Wing playing eight minutes against Buffalo, sophomore Rokas Cesnulevicius is now the only scholarship UE player to not see the floor yet this season — not counting freshman David Howard, who will redshirt.
UE coach Marty Simmons on preparing for Yale: “I think No. 1, we’re just going to focus on ourselves – try to get ourselves focused and ready to play. When you’ve only got one day to prepare like this, there isn’t a whole lot to do. We’ll look at the mistakes we made, talk about those. Got some guys with knick-knack injuries. Try to get as healthy as we can. There’s nothing you can do physically. It’s all mental right now.”
Simmons on correcting the mistakes that have the Aces 0-2: “The hard part now is, we’re playing games. There’s not a lot of preparation time, and we’ve got to regroup real quick because we’ve got another tough test tomorrow. You can’t hang your heads, and that’s the nature of Division I basketball. You’ve got to be able to play every night.”
Outlook: Will Colt Ryan play or not? That’s going to be the question everyone wants answered heading into Friday’s game. But if the Aces prepare for the worst, an effort that fell six points short of Buffalo should be enough to top a Yale team that’s truly struggled out of the gate. Of course, the same could have been assumed pre-Buffalo. As Marty Simmons said after the loss to the Bulls, UE’s problems are mental. We’ll see if roughly 20 hours were enough to correct anything.