Game Day: Southern Illinois-UE

Southern Illinois (7-6, 0-2) at Evansville Purple Aces (8-6, 1-1)

Missouri Valley Conference Game 3/18

Game Time: 8 p.m. Saturday

Location: Ford Center

Broadcast: WUEV 91.5 FM, MVC-TV

Live Coverage: Follow on Twitter (@ECP_Lintner)

Game Notes: Click here for UE and here for Southern Illinois

Spread: UE -8.5 at Vegas Insider

UE’s Probable Starters: Troy Taylor, Ned Cox, Colt Ryan, Lewis Jones, Egidijus Mockevicius

Southern Illinois’ Probable Starters: Kendal Brown-Surles, Jeff Early, Desmar Jackson, Anthony Beane, Davante Drinkard

Last Meeting: UE lost 53-52 in Carbondale last Feb. 4.

Series History: Southern Illinois leads the all-time series 65-49, but the Aces are 34-22 when the games are played in Evansville.

Story Clippings:

Jan. 4: Playing small may be fact of life for UE, Southern Illinois

Jan. 3: Aces’ Ryan will be thinking about brother on Military Appreciation Night

Jan. 3: Salukis in search of better guard play at Evansville

Jan. 3: Bradley pulls out win over Southern Illinois at home

Jan. 3: With size issues, zone a necessity for Salukis

Jan. 2: UE uses overtime to dispatch Missouri State, get first MVC win

Notable:

—Following a 6-2 start, Southern Illinois has dropped three of its last four games and has lost seven straight MVC games dating back to last season. The Aces meanwhile snapped a two-game losing streak with Wednesday’s win over Missouri State.

—Southern Illinois is 7-0 when its bench scores at least 13 points and 0-6 when it tallies fewer. This season, UE’s bench has out-scored opponents’ 380-258. The Missouri State game was a major exception, with the Bears’ reserves scoring 25 to just two points for UE.

—UE senior Troy Taylor’s 19 rebounds Wednesday against Missouri State marked the first time an Aces player grabbed 15 or more boards since Nate Garner did it against Western Kentucky on Dec. 14, 2008.

—Senior Colt Ryan has scored 13 or more points in eight of nine games since coming back from a hip pointer injury. The one exception came against Division II Oakland City, when he had seven. Ryan has hit 38 of 42 free throws this season, a rate that tops the Missouri Valley Conference and is 12th nationally.

—With five blocks against Missouri State, freshman Egidijus Mockevicius has 15 on the season. Kenny Harris had 19 all of last season to lead UE. Mockevicius’ career-high 18 points against Missouri State came on a 6 of 6 shooting night.

—UE out-rebounded Missouri State, moving to 6-0 on the season when it does so. The Aces are 2-6 when they’re beat on the boards.

—Southern Illinois will have just one player taller than 6-foot-5 available on Saturday: senior Devante Drinker, a player who’s battled injuries. Forwar Dantiel Daniels is out with an ankle injury, and guard Diamond Taylor is suspended through the middle of this month. Also, forward Antonio Bryer left the team earlier this season and will transfer.

Quotable:

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