Game Day: UE-Missouri State

Evansville Aces (13-9, 6-4) at Missouri State Bears (6-16, 4-6)

Missouri Valley Conference Game 11/18

Game Time: 2:05 p.m. Saturday

Location: JHQ Arena in Springfield, Mo.

Broadcast: 91.5 WUEV

Live Coverage: Follow on Twitter (@ECP_Lintner, @LscrantonNL)

Game Notes: Click here for UE and here for Missouri State

Spread: UE -3 at Vegas Insider

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

Missouri State’s Probable Starters: G Anthony Downing, G Dorrian Williams, G Marcus Marshall, F Gavin Thurman, F Drew Wilson

Last Meeting: UE beat Missouri State 62-59 in overtime on Jan. 2 at the Ford Center.

Series History: Missouri State leads the all-time series 30-27 and is 18-8 when defending its home court. The Aces have won their last five games against the Bears, with three coming last season. It was just the second three-game season sweep of an MVC foe for UE, with the other coming against Wichita State in 1999.

Story Clippings:

Feb. 1: Nelson still looking for consistent shooting stroke

Feb. 1: Bears gear up for stretch run

Feb. 1: Jahr off the UE basketball team

Jan. 31: Creighton too much for Missouri State to handle

Jan. 30: Aces’ Ryan adjusting to more physical defenses

Jan. 29: With little offense, UE tops Northern Iowa anyway 

Notable:

—While UE is 5-0 in MVC home games and 11-2 overall at the Ford Center, the Aces are just 1-4 in conference road games heading into Saturday. The lone victory came Jan. 9 at Northern Iowa. UE has since lost three straight.

—In the teams’ first meeting this season, Missouri State rallied from a four-point deficit in the final 14 seconds to force overtime. UE never trailed in the extra session behind a career-high 18 points from freshman Egidijus Mockevicius and 19 rebounds by senior Troy Taylor.

—Senior Colt Ryan is on pace to become the 14th player in MVC history to eclipse 2,000 points. After scoring 23 in the Aces’ win over Northern Iowa on Tuesday, he’s at 1,943 career points.

—Against the Panthers, Mockevicius (13 rebounds) and Taylor (12 rebounds) became the first players to both grab 10 boards in the same game since Taylor and James Haarsma finished with 12 apiece in a 2009 win over SIU Edwardsville.

—Though Mockevicius is scoring 4.4 points per game on the season, he’s averaged 8.3 points a contest in UE’s last four. Mockevicius is also the MVC’s No. 4 shot blocker after recording a career-high six of them against Northern Iowa.

—UE’s offense has struggled in the last few weeks, but it seems defense keys wins. The Aces hold opponents to 43.4 percent shooting (and 31.7 percent from 3-point range) in MVC victories, while league foes make 48.1 percent of shots (and 45.7 percent of 3-pointers) in defeats.

—UE relies on experience, as the Aces’ four seniors combine to score 71 percent of the Aces’ points. Meanwhile, Missouri State is young. The Bears’ six freshmen account for 45.3 percent of the offense.

—Second-year coach Paul Lusk fields a roster that features a combined 10 years of college basketball experience (including NAIA and junior college) among its 12 players, easily making up the youngest team in the MVC and seventh-youngest in Division I.

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