A few leftover observations and notes from Evansville’s 81-69 overtime victory Thursday against Ohio (read my game story here.)
1. Evansville’s 2-3 zone for several possessions in the second half was a nice change-up.
The Aces switched from a man-to-man to zone midway through the second half, and the different look was largely effective. After Ohio’s Javarez Willis hit a 3-pointer on one of the early zone possessions, the Aces stuck with it and went on an 11-0 run.
The switch in defenses made sense against a team that entered the game shooting 28.5 percent from 3-point range. When the Bobcats finally appeared to solve the zone, the Aces went back to man-to-man for the final stretch of regulation.
UE coach Marty Simmons credited his assistant coaches for the decision to switch to the 2-3, and added that his players were able to carry over the intensity that they had in the zone back to man-to-man.
2. The free-throw disparity looks more dramatic than it actually seemed.
Evansville shot 23 of 28 from the foul line compared to 2 of 3 for Ohio. That’s a huge difference in the game, but in the flow of the contest, it didn’t seem like all the calls were going one way.
There weren’t any controversial block-charge calls or blatant no-calls; Ohio picked up several fouls trying to crash the boards and UE reached the bonus midway through the second half while Ohio didn’t reach the bonus until overtime.
That — and the two Ohio technical foul calls that gave Evansville four early free throws — is what primarily contributed to the disparity. The Aces may have had a couple more of those off-the-ball or rebounding contact calls go their way, but it seemed like a fairly well-officiated game.
A big moment in the game was when Ohio’s Antonio Campbell fouled out with 1:50 left in regulation. The 6-foot-8, 260-pounder was a tough matchup for UE with his shooting range. He went 4-for-7 from the field and 2-for-3 from 3-point range in scoring 10 points.
3. UE changed its starting lineup for the first time this season.
Sophomore point guard Jaylon Brown replaced classmate Duane Gibson in the Aces’ starting lineup.
“Boo had been out a couple days with some back spasms, missed a couple days of practice,” Marty Simmons said Friday. “More than anything, we just tried to change things up a little bit.”
Brown and Gibson have split time evenly all season and the starting designation likely won’t change that. However, Brown has slightly outperformed Gibson in nearly every statistical category, so maybe UE’s coaching staff took note of that and will continue to start Brown.
Simmons rarely shares much insight on potential lineup changes, so it will be something to keep an eye on in the Aces’ next few games.
4. Adam Wing did a solid job defending Ohio’s Maurice Ndour.
The 6-foot-4 Wing was matched up most of the game with Ndour, a 6-9 player who could score inside and out. Simmons said Ndour was the Bobcats’ most difficult matchup, and he affirmed that by sinking a pair of long jump shots in the first 2:31 of the game.
Ndour finished with team highs of 14 points and 12 rebounds, but shot a modest 6 of 14 from the field. Wing finished with 11 points and six rebounds, hitting 6 of 6 free throws in a team-high 42 minutes, most of them spent battling a much bigger, more physically gifted player.