Miami Redhawks (3-3) at Evansville Purple Aces (4-3)
Game Time: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday
Location: Ford Center
Broadcast: 91.5 WUEV, Aces TV
Live Coverage: Follow on Twitter (@ECP_Lintner)
Game Notes: Click here
Spread: UE -10 at OddsShark
UE’s probable starters: Troy Taylor, Ned Cox, Colt Ryan, Ryan Sawvell, Egidijus Mockevicius
Miami’s probable starters: Reggie Johnson, Allen Roberts, Quinten Rollins, Will Felder, Jon Harris
Last Meeting: UE won 77-75 at Miami during the 2011-2012 season
Recent Series History:
2011: UE 77, Miami 75
2009: Miami 82, UE 58
2009: UE 76, Miami 61
2002: UE 66, Miami 58
2001: UE 67, Miami 63 OT
Dec. 4: UE looks to get Lewis Jones back on track
Dec. 4: Miami looks to bounce back
Dec. 3: Marty Simmons talks future opponents on radio show
Dec. 1: UE’s rally falls short at Colorado State
Dec. 1: Miami blows lead, loses at buzzer to IPFW
—UE plays four straight home games before concluding non-conference play Dec. 22 at Butler (BracketBusters in February aside). The Aces last won a set of four consecutive home contests during the 2006-2007 season, when they knocked off Cleveland State, Buffalo, Southeast Missouri State and Tennessee Martin.
—Former Tennessee State coach John Cooper is in his first year at Miami after Redhawks alum and 16th-year coach Charlie Coles retired last March.
—Two of Miami’s three losses came to ranked opponents Louisville and North Carolina State. The other defeat came on a shot at the buzzer last Saturday at IPFW.
—UE forces 5.29 more turnovers per game than it commits, ranking the Aces tops in the Missouri Valley Conference and 13th nationally. Additionally, 64 percent of UE’s field goals are assisted, 20th in Division I.
—D.J. Balentine’s 26 points last Saturday against Colorado State were the most by a UE freshman since Colt Ryan scored 31 at Creighton during the 2009-10 campaign. Balentine leads the Aces in scoring at 11.3 points per game and, much in part because of that, UE’s bench is out-scoring opponents 192-123.
—Ryan returned from a hip pointer injury to score 13 points last week against Alabama A&M and 20 versus Colorado State, marking his season high.
Coach Marty Simmons scouts Miami: “It’ll be the best (press) that we’ve seen. They’re strong, long, athletic guys. They do it really well. They move quickly, they rotate and they have active hands that get a lot of deflections. We’ve got to be sound – be able to take care of the basketball and make good decisions, which is sometimes easier said than done. But that’s the challenge when you play against athletic, aggressive teams. You’ve really got to value the basketball.”
Simmons on what he’d like to see from senior Lewis Jones: “Lewis is just one of those guys who we need to be ultra-aggressive, whether he’s shooting the 3, driving the ball to the basket and getting to the free throw line, staying sound defensively and being a guy who can rebound the basketball. We just feel like if he can do those things, then that will help our team.”
Jones on matching up with Miami: “I feel it’s a good matchup for me. We watched tape, and the guys are active shooters, so I can help defend that.”
Sophomore Jordan Jahr on handling the Redhawks’ full-court pressure: “If they want to trap us, then in my opinion, we should be laying the ball up or dunking it every single time down. I don’t think we’ve really had any problems with pressing so far this season, so I don’t see that being a threat to it as long as we handle it like we’re supposed to.”
Jahr said the Aces won’t try to slow the game down: “I think we’re going to counter their aggressiveness with playing smart and breaking it down. With them pressing, it’s obviously going to leave a man open and give us the ability to make plays – and we’ve got to make those plays.”
Outlook: Miami is a team most likely better than its record indicates, and this game should come down to how the Redhawks are allowed to force their tempo and style upon UE. If the Aces handle the press — and turnovers haven’t been a problem this season — they should get the win.