Evansville Aces (14-11, 7-6) at Southern Illinois Salukis (9-15, 2-11)
Missouri Valley Conference Game 14/18
Game Time: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday
Location: SIU Arena in Carbondale, Ill.
Broadcast: WUEV 91.5 FM
Spread: Southern Illinois -1 at Vegas Insider
UE’s Probable Starters: G Troy Taylor, G Ned Cox, F Colt Ryan, F Lewis Jones, C Egidijus Mockevicius
Southern Illinois’ Probable Starters: G Kendal Brown-Surles, G Desmar Jackson, G T.J. Lindsay, F Jeff Early, F Dantiel Daniels
Last Meeting: UE won 84-68 on Jan. 5 at the Ford Center.
Series History: Southern Illinois leads the all-time series 65-50 and is 40-13 when playing in Carbondale, where the Aces haven’t won since 2001.
Feb. 12: Surging Salukis next road test for Aces
Feb. 11: Mockevicius taking from opponents, giving to UE
Feb. 11: Recent play may put fear into Salukis’ opponents
Feb. 10: Ryan hits 2,000, propels Aces to overtime win against Drake
Feb. 9: Southern Illinois sends message in close loss to Indiana State
—UE hits the road again Wednesday, a notably tough place for the Aces this season. While 12-2 at the Ford Center (and 3-0 in overtime games), UE is 2-9 on the road and has lost five in a row there.
—The Aces’ 84-point total against Southern Illinois earlier this season — the Aces shot 57.7 percent — were the most so far against a Division I opponent in a regulation 40 minutes. Division II Oakland City gave up a season-high 103 to UE.
—Southern Illinois’ Jeff Early is the nation’s second-leading rebounder for players 6-foot-1 and shorter with 7.4 boards a game. But the No. 1 rebounder? That’s UE senior Troy Taylor and his average 7.6. Plus, Taylor is listed an inch shorter than Early.
—Senior Colt Ryan is 26 points away from passing Marcus Wilson for second on the Aces’ all-time scoring list. Wilson is the highest-scoring player in the program’s Division I history.
—A game after hitting the 1,000-point mark against Bradley, senior Ned Cox following with his highest-scoring game of the season with 21 points against Drake.
—UE continues to lead the Missouri Valley Conference in free throw shooting at 78.8 percent. The Aces improved on those numbers Sunday, going 25 of 29 (86.2 percent) against Drake, including 16 of 18 in overtime.
—Last week, in an upset of Wichita State and one-point loss at Indiana State, Southern Illinois shot 45 percent from 3-point range. Overall, though, the Salukis aren’t strong offensively. They’ve scored 65 or fewer points in seven straight games.
—Southern Illinois sophomore forward Dantiel Daniels will be available Wednesday after missing the teams’ earlier meeting with a hurt ankle. Dating back to last season, the Salukis are 2-8 in games when the 6-foot-5 Daniels (8.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg) sits due to injury.
UE coach Marty Simmons on a second meeting against Southern Illinois: “It’ll be a tough matchup. Anytime you play against one of coach (Barry) Hinson’s teams, it’s always tough. I think his teams take on his personality, and they’re always well-prepared. They play extremely hard. I think you’ve seen that with his team.”
Simmons on his team overcoming five of seven losses to beat Drake in overtime: “I think our guys have been pretty resilient from day one. They’ve brought a good attitude to practice and the games. We’ve come up on the short end of the stick a few times, but I think our guys have been competitive and have brought the attitude that they want to get better. They’ve really given a tremendous amount of effort to get to where we are today.”
Southern Illinois will have Dantiel Daniels available this time around. How does that change things? “We’ll just continue to break down the tapes we have,” Simmons said. “They’ve gotten good lifts from a lot of different guys. Desmar (Jackson), as I’ve said earlier, has the potential to make everybody better. He’s a super talent. But you look at (T.J.) Lindsay and Jalen (Pendleton) – they’ve really given them lifts off the bench. I really think all the guys who are playing have given them contributions.”
Outlook: If there was ever a time for UE to end its road woes, this is it. Southern Illinois, albeit playing on an upswing, would represent a very bad loss at a very bad time for the Aces, who are still in the regular-season MVC race.