UE News and Notes for Feb. 12, 2013

—UE play-by-play man Lance Wilkerson tweeted Tuesday that the Ford Center’s lower bowl is nearly sold out for Saturday’s men’s basketball game against Creighton. “Tickets are going as fast as ever,” Wilkerson tweeted. You can check out what’s left on Ticketmaster.

—Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson has his team playing arguably its best basketball of the season entering Wednesday’s game against UE, as I wrote in my game preview.

—The Aces-Salukis game, by the way, will be played at SIU Arena. Doesn’t matter where — it’s just tough to win on the road in the Missouri Valley Conference. Missouri State reaffirmed that Tuesday with a 67-65 win over first-place Indiana State.

—More respect for the road: Southern Illinois is a one-point favorite against UE, which hasn’t won in Carbondale, Ill., since 2001. The line started as a pickem when it first came out Tuesday. Make your own prediction here.

—UE freshman guard D.J. Balentine has a new pair of sneakers for Wednesday’s game against Southern Illinois. They’re shiny.

—UE signee Blake Simmons scored 17 points and added 15 rebounds in Castle High School’s 73-52 win Tuesday over Tecumseh.

—Former UE baseball player Eric Stamets left Tuesday for the Los Angeles Angels’ spring training in Arizona. Stamets spent the latter half of last season, after he was drafted following his junior year at UE, as the everyday shortstop for the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels.

—The MVC on Tuesday named UE tennis player Natasha James, a sophomore, its Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week. James won in both singles and doubles over the weekend in the Aces’ home match against Austin Peay.

—UE’s men’s soccer staff is updating its teams progress this spring. With no spring football to look forward to at UE, check out the @AcesSoccer Twitter feed for updates on the school’s premier fall sports team.

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