Oakland City Mighty Oaks (7-2) at Evansville Purple Aces (6-4)
Game Time: 7:05 p.m. Tuesday
Location: Ford Center
Broadcast: 91.5 WUEV, Aces TV
Live Coverage: Follow on Twitter (@ECP_Lintner)
Game Notes: Click here
UE’s Probable Starters: Troy Taylor, Ned Cox, Colt Ryan, Lewis Jones, Egidijus Mockevicius
Last Meeting: UE won 80-53 in November 2011 at the Ford Center.
Recent Series History:
2011: UE 80, OCU 53
2010: UE 82, OCU 42
2009: UE 92, OCU 66
2008: UE 75, OCU 51
2007: UE 82, OCU 43
2006: UE 73, OCU 67
2004: UE 82, OCU 54
Dec. 17: Oakland City looking forward to another meeting with UE
Dec. 17: Simmons looks ahead to Oakland City, Butler on radio show
Dec. 17: Jones, Nelson available versus Oakland City
Dec. 16: Oakland City coach Sandifar talks UE
Dec. 16: Sawvell’s receovered confidence important for Aces
Dec. 15: Ryan scores season high as UE knocks off Alabama State
—UE owns a 39-12 all-time series edge over Division II Oakland City. The Mighty Oaks’ last victory over the Aces came during the 1952-1953 season, when UE was then in the College Division.
—Tuesday marks the end of a four-game UE homestand that’s also included a win over Miami (Ohio), a loss to Murray State and a victory against Alabama State. The Aces have won six of their last eight games since starting 0-2.
—Oakland City actually played a game Monday night on its home court, defeating Kent State University-Tuscarawas 74-41.
—With a season-high 24 points last Saturday, senior Colt Ryan became UE’s leading scorer at 13.1 points per game. Freshman D.J. Balentine (11.2) and senior Ned Cox (11.1) also average in double figures.
—The Mighty Oaks also have three players averaging double figures: senior Mitch Stahl (19.4 points per game), junior Cameron LeFear (16) and sophomore Brandon Morton (11.6).
—For the second season in a row, UE senior Troy Taylor — the Aces’ point guard — leads them in rebounds with 6.6 per game. Freshman Center Egidijus Mockevicius is second on the team, grabbing 4.2 boards per contest.
—Sophomores Ryan Sawvell and Jordan Jahr both re-entered the picture Saturday, with Sawvell scoring a season-high 11 points and Jahr posting nine. Sawvell had scored a combined 10 points in the preceding six games, and Jahr had a total 11 points in his last five games.
UE coach Marty Simmons on his team since the Alabama State win: “We had good practices last week and a good one yesterday. We just need more consistency. Oakland City will be a team that has a lot of smart guys who can really shoot the basketball. They’re just well-coached and well set up, but I think at certain times this year maybe more than any other year, really it’s about us and our ability to play with intensity and execute the things we have set up offensively and defensively by a large group of our players.”
Simmons on Oakland City coach Mike Sandifar: “He’s a great guy, and he’s done a great job up there. His kids are always well-prepared. They run motion, and they always do a good job of setting screens. They cut hard. They all shoot the basketball. Every team we’ve ever played against that coach Sandifar’s had, they shoot the basketball well. They stretch the defense.”
Sophomore Ryan Sawvell on the focus between the Alabama State and Oakland City games: “I think we just need to cut down on all the turnovers we had. We had a few guys with four turnovers – not making really good decisions with the ball. We need to work on that in practice and make sure we’re still aggressive and running the floor.”
Oakland City coach Mike Sandifar on his team’s outlook toward UE: “They like playing in the Ford Center. They loved playing in Roberts Stadium. Any time we play a Division I — if I just asked our kids who we want to open up against next year, they would want U of E, they would want Kentucky, and then IU, then they’d want Louisville and end up with Duke and North Carolina. That’s just how kids are…They picture themselves there. I think, to a certain extent, U of E means they can show people, ‘I can play at that level.’ But if we go in there and get beat by 35, it doesn’t.”
Outlook: UE handled the University of Southern Indiana easily in exhibition season, and the Aces should have no problem with a team that’s not nationally ranked in Division II like the Screaming Eagles — Oakland City. This, like those against Alabama A&M and Alabama State, shouldn’t be close, but yet a game where UE hopes to boost confidence for a few guys and find consistency.