Game Day: Bradley-UE

Bradley Braves (12-7, 4-3) at Evansville Aces (11-8, 4-3)

Missouri Valley Conference Game 8/18

 

Game Time: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday

Location: Ford Center

Broadcast: WUEV 91.5 FM

Live Coverage: Follow on Twitter (@ECP_Lintner)

Game Notes: Click here for UE and here for Bradley

Spread: UE -7.5 at Vegas Insider

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

Bradley’s Probable Starters: G Walt Lemon Jr., G Dyricus Simms-Edwards, G/F Jake Eastman, F Tyshon Pickett, F/C Will Egolf

Last Meeting: UE blew out Bradley by a 92-62 score in Peoria, Ill., marking the Aces’ largest margin of victory in an MVC game all of last season.

Series History: The Braves own a 23-17 series edge, but UE’s taken 13 of 20 meetings played on its home court.

Story Clippings:

Jan. 22: Aces hope to finish better against Bradley

Jan. 22: Bradley has memories of folding to Aces

Jan. 20: UE wants more movement in its motion

Jan. 19: Aces go cold again in loss at Indiana State

Jan. 19: Lemon’s last-second 3 seals win for Bradley

Notable:

—UE held double-digit leads in the first half of both losses to Drake and Indiana State last week before going on to lose by 10-plus points. The Aces made a combined 17 of 64 shots in the second half of those games, while opponents average better than 50 percent shooting against them in second halves.

—In line with that, UE senior Colt Ryan has overcome a pair of poor shooting efforts to still average 22 points in those losses. He hit just 10 of 30 shots but made 22 of 24 free throws against the Bulldogs and Sycamores, including 16 of 16 at Drake.

—UE senior Troy Taylor is often recognized for what he does outside of scoring the basketball, such as leading the Aces in both assists and rebounds despite a 6-foot frame. But Taylor, who had just career eight double-figure performances entering this season, has scored 10 or more points in four of UE’s last five games.

—Lewis Jones, another senior, is on the best scoring streak of his career, too. Jones is averaging 8.9 points per game in UE’s last seven contests, including a season-high 14 against Missouri State. Jones had scored in double figures just seven times before this season.

—In all, the Aces’ four seniors — Ryan, Taylor, Jones and Ned Cox — have combined to score 342 out of Evansville’s 481 points (71.1 percent) in MVC action this season.

—Bradley averages 10.8 steals a game and forces turnovers on 24 percent of opponents’ possessions — a sure test for a UE team that’s second in assist-to-turnover ratio in the MVC (+3.68) behind just the Braves (+4.42). Dyricus Simms-Edwards record 3.26 steals per game and Walt Lemon Jr. 2.26 to lead Bradley — a backcourt duo that combined ranks among the top 30 in Division I in steals.

—Last season, UE beat the Braves 90-67 at the Ford Center and 92-62 on the road, marking the first season sweep for the Aces over Bradley. It came in coach Geno Ford’s first season, when his team tallied just seven wins all year. Already with 12 victories, the turnaround is currently the fifth-most-improved of any team in Division I.

—Conference play has seen Bradley’s perimeter shooting improve (from 27.4 percent non-conference to 40 percent in MVC play) while the Braves’ interior shooting has declined (51.1 percent non-conference to 44 percent in MVC play).

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