Evansville aces (20-14) at Canisius Golden Griffins (20-13)
CollegeInsider.com Tournament Quarterfinal Round
Game Time: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Location: Koessler Athletic Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
Broadcast: WUEV 91.5 FM, watchcollegeinsider.com
Live Coverage: Follow on Twitter (@ECP_Lintner)
Game Notes: Click here
Spread: UE opened -1.5 at OddsShark.com
UE’s Probable Starters: G Troy Taylor, G Ned Cox, F Colt Ryan, F Adam Wing, C Egidijus Mockevicius
Tennessee State’s Probable Starters: G Harold Washington, G Billy Baron, G Isaac Sosa, F Chris Manhertz, F Jordan Heath
Series History: Tuesday marks the first-ever meeting between UE and Canisius.
Other CIT Matchups: Click here for a full schedule.
March 25: UE takes long road to CIT game
March 24: Aces to play CIT quarterfinal at Canisius
March 24: Griffs move on with huge comeback victory over Youngstown State
March 23: UE draws away to beat EKU convincingly
—UE senior Colt Ryan, who averages 19.8 points per game, needs just nine more to break Larry Humes’ all-time Aces scoring record. Ryan has averaged 23.9 points per game in UE’s last seven during with the Aces are 6-1.
—In winning six of its last seven games, two came on the road. UE looks to run that streak to three victories away from home, a mark the program hasn’t reached since winning just as many during the 1998-1999 season.
—Over the Aces’ last four games, opponents have shot just 29.6 percent from 3-point range. How that figure stands after five games should have a big impact on Tuesday’s outcome. Canisius hits 38.4 percent of its long-range shots, which ranks 17th in the nation and tops in the MAAC.
—The Golden Griffins’ leader is junior guard Billy Baron, son of Canisius coach Jim Baron (formerly at Rhode Island). Billy averages 17.1 points per game and dishes out a league-leading 5.1 assists.
—Other remaining teams in the CIT include Loyola (Md.), East Carolina, Canisius, Bradley, Northern Iowa and Weber State, as well as Oral Roberts and UC Irvine, which don’t play their second-round game until Wednesday.
UE coach Marty Simmons scouts Canisius: “Billy Baron’s a heck of a player. He’s a coach’s son, and he plays just like that – really smart, really, really good with the ball in his hands. He can make plays with the ball in his hands both shooting 3s and off the dribble. He’s got a good supporting cast. (Harold) Washington can really shoot it – quick, athletic, playing really good basketball. (Isaac) Sosa’s a lights-out 3-point shooter. And then their inside guy – (Jordan) Heath – is a 6-10, really long athletic player that can shoot the 3 – and (Chris) Manhertz is a muscular, strong, athletic finisher inside. They have good size off the bench and a good perimeter scorer in (Alshwan) Hymes, so they’re really just an experienced bunch – like Eastern Kentucky in that they’re balanced.”
Senior Colt Ryan adds to that: “They’ve got some size inside, and they rebound the basketball really well inside. Their guards are very good scorers. Their point guard can score in a variety of ways. He gets to the rim and can shoot it from outside. All of their guards and their four man can shoot the 3 ball. So it’s kind of like a Valley test almost. But then they’ve got two other good guards to go along with it. They really play well together.”
Simmons on playing deep into March: “I think it’s pretty neat. Really, all we’re trying to do is prepare and get ready to play the next game. That’s good experience for our younger guys, and for our older guys, it’s our last chance. I think each and every time they lace them up, they realize that could be the last time they do that.”
Ryan on where the Aces have been better in recent road games: “We’ve just got to make sure we’re focused and play hard and together for 40 minutes. Down the stretch, we never really had lapses where we would just kind of disappear from the game. I think in the beginning, we had some games where we’d have lapses where we’d go long periods without scoring much or basically let the other team go on a huge run against us.”
Outlook: UE a favorite on the road? Believe it. The Aces are playing their best basketball down the stretch, sans the Missouri Valley Conference tournament loss to Indiana State. UE, along with Northern Iowa, is the class of the remaining CIT field. Look for the Aces to cruise.