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Basic info: Evansville (17-4, 6-2 MVC) at Southern Illinois (18-3, 7-1 MVC), 7 p.m. Thursday at SIU Arena in Carbondale, Illinois.

Preview story: MVC’s top scorers, rebounders on display as Aces visit surging SIU

Live stream/Radio: ESPN3; WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Evansville: Jaylon Brown (6-0, Jr., G, 11.2 ppg, 3.0 apg); D.J. Balentine (6-2, Sr., G, 21.1 ppg, 4.5 apg); Blake Simmons (6-5, Jr., G/F, 5.5 ppg, 3.7 apg); Adam Wing (6-4, Sr., F, 8.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg); Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Sr., C, 17.0 ppg, 14.5 rpg).

Southern Illinois: Sean O’Brien (6-7, Jr., F, 12.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg); Bola Olaniyan (6-7, Jr., C, 7.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg); Mike Rodriguez (5-10, Jr., G, 9.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg); Tyler Smithpeters (6-4, Jr., G, 7.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg); Anthony Beane (6-2, Sr., G, 19.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg).

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Noting Evansville: D.J. Balentine is the NCAA’s active leading scorer at 2,210 points. He is 26 behind Larry Humes for No. 2 on UE’s all-time list and 69 behind career leader Colt Ryan. … The Aces are ranked No. 7 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. SIU is No. 8. … The Aces had a four-game winning streak snapped Sunday at Indiana State. UE is looking to avoid its first consecutive losses of the season. … UE assistant coach Doug Novsek holds SIU’s single-season record for 3-point field-goal percentage (.473) but is under threat from current Saluki Tyler Smithpeters (.493 so far this season). … The Aces lead the Missouri Valley Conference in field-goal percentage (.520) and field-goal percentage defense (.407).

Noting Southern Illinois: The Salukis have clinched their first winning season since 2007-08, the final year of seven consecutive postseason bids. SIU went to the NCAA tournament every year from 2002-2007, advancing to Sweet 16s in ’02 and ’07. … Smithpeters has taken 67 percent of his career shot attempts from 3-point range. … Senior guard Anthony Beane has 1,705 career points, No. 6 on SIU’s career list. His current pace would put him third on the all-time list at the end of the season. … SIU’s 18-3 start is its best since Matt Painter’s 2004 NCAA tourney team opened 24-2, including 17-0 in the MVC. … Bola Olaniyan scored a career-high 17 points Sunday against Missouri State, while Beane handed out a career-high six assists. … Junior guard Leo Vincent is the team’s second-leading scorer in MVC games (11.9 ppg).

Predictions: Evansville is favored by 2 1/2 points. Ken Pomeroy predicts a 78-77 UE win and gives the Aces a 51 percent chance of victory.

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University of Evansville junior guard Duane Gibson returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Dec. 29.

That surgery was Gibson’s third operation in six months on his meniscus, which was initially torn last June. Gibson, a starter last season, played in four games this season between the second and third surgeries.

But continued swelling in the knee forced another surgery to remove a floating piece of meniscus on the knee. Gibson rode an exercise bike and used an elliptical machine to stay in shape, but said the true test of his knee will come when he returns to practice.

“Right now, it hasn’t really been swelling at all, and that’s really a good thing,” Gibson said. “We didn’t really do much, but I think we did enough of a workout to see if it’s going to swell. The next thing is just to do contact and see how it reacts to that.”

Gibson said he has been cleared for full contact, but added the team’s trainers could hold him out of some drills as he gradually increases his participation.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I just hope it goes well this time.”

The Cleveland native started 23 games as a sophomore, averaging 5.1 points and swiping a team-high 36 steals. Fellow junior point guard Jaylon Brown has increased his minutes (29.5 per game) and scoring average (11.2 points per game) in Gibson’s absence.

Gibson is still eligible to redshirt this season if he doesn’t play in any more games.

“Coach (Marty Simmons) is really just waiting to see how I practice and see how my knee reacts, and then we’ll just talk about it then. He didn’t really want to rush it,” Gibson said.

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Here are some leftover notes, quotes and observations from Indiana State’s 82-65 win against Evansville on Sunday. You can read my game story here.

1. In UE coach Marty Simmons’ words, Evansville “didn’t give a lot of resistance.”

It started on the first possession, when Brenton Scott curled around multiple screens and swished an open 3. By the first media timeout four minutes into the game, Scott had 11 points.

“We didn’t do a very good job contesting, we didn’t give a lot of resistance,” Simmons said. “I thought they did a very good job of that with us. They scout well, they pay attention to their game plans. We’ve been pretty good with that most of the year, but we weren’t today.

“Don’t take any credit from them. They played great, but we certainly don’t want Scott catching the ball on the 3-point line in transition for 3-point shots.”

Said Scott: “I just wanted to come out and help my team. The guys were looking for me and I was able to knock down shots, just help our team get some energy going.”

2. Foul trouble hurt the Aces.

Indiana State’s run to close the first half coincided, at least in part, to Evansville guard Jaylon Brown going to the bench with two fouls. UE sixth man Mislav Brzoja also never got into the flow of the game, quickly picking up fouls seemingly every time he checked in.

The Aces are clearly not the same team when Brown, D.J. Balentine or Egidijus Mockevicius is on the bench. And while those guys are accustomed to playing heavy minutes, it is dangerous to rely so much on them because foul trouble will inevitably pop up.

Christian Benzon can play good defense at the guard spot but doesn’t provide nearly the same scoring threat as Balentine or Brown. Harris Brown came into the game Sunday and promptly attempted a three-quarter court pass to Adam Wing, and it sailed out of bounds. It was a freshman mistake by, well, a freshman, but it underlined the importance of having Jaylon Brown on the court and how much it hurts the Aces to have Duane Gibson out with a knee injury.

Evansville’s bench had some solid games in the nonconference, but it seems the coaches are increasingly relying on the Aces’ top six guys in MVC play. There is little margin for error if at least two of them aren’t playing well during a given game.

EXTRA QUOTES

Simmons, on why Mockevicius only had five field-goal attempts despite a height advantage inside: “They (the Sycamores) play hard, they play physical. That’s something where I have to be better, our players have to be better. We forced up some ill-advised, pressured shots early in the clock and didn’t give Egidijus or other players the opportunity to get some opportunities. We didn’t play with a lot of poise.”

ISU coach Greg Lansing, on defending Mockevicius (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Balentine (20 points): “We wanted to make (Mockevicius) work at both ends of the floor. He and Balentine play a lot of minutes and we tried to throw different bodies at them.”

Balentine, on continuing a tough stretch of the season. UE plays at Southern Illinois on Thursday and hosts Wichita State on Sunday: “If you’re a competitor, this is what you want. We want to go against the top guys every night. We understand that we didn’t get one here. We’ve got to get one Thursday at Southern Illinois.”

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TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State drilled 8 of 10 3-pointers en route to a 45-31 halftime lead over the University of Evansville men’s basketball team Sunday at the Hulman Center.

Sophomore Brenton Scott got the hot shooting started for ISU, burying his first five 3-point attempts — in the opening 10 minutes. Scott had 17 points for the half, finishing 5-for-6 from long range and 6-for-9 overall.

Evansville cut the lead to two with 6:35 left, but the Sycamores ended the half on a 15-2 run. Devonte Brown hit two 3s in the final 50 seconds and tallied 13 points for ISU.

Adam Wing led Evansville with 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting, D.J. Balentine added eight points and Egidijus Mockevicius contributed seven points and six rebounds.

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Basic info: Evansville (17-3, 6-1 MVC) at Indiana State (10-9, 4-3), 3 p.m. CT Sunday at Hulman Center in Terre Haute

Preview story: Aces, Sycamores expect another ‘slugfest’

TV/Radio: ESPNU; WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Evansville: Jaylon Brown (6-0, Jr., G, 11.1 ppg, 3.1 apg); D.J. Balentine (6-2, Sr., G, 21.2 ppg, 4.7 apg); Blake Simmons (6-5, Jr., G/F, 5.6 ppg, 3.6 apg); Adam Wing (6-4, Sr., F, 8.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg); Egidijus Mockevicius (17.4 ppg, 14.6 rpg).

Indiana State: Devonte Brown (6-2, Sr., G, 15.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg); Brenton Scott (6-1, So., G, 15.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg); Khristian Smith (6-6, Sr., G, 10.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg); Matt Van Scyoc (6-6, Jr., F, 9.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg); Brandon Murphy (6-7, So., F/C, 4.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg).

— —

Noting Evansville: The Aces trail the all-time series against Indiana State 77-88 but own two consecutive wins over the Sycamores. … Egidijus Mockevicius’ nation-leading 14.6 rebounding average is the highest since Tim Duncan averaged 14.7 in 1996-97. … Evansville is off to its best start since going 23-3 to begin the 1988-89 season. UE’s best MVC start was 8-1 in 1997-98. … The Aces have allowed 30 points or fewer in six of their last eight halves. … Evansville is ranked 39th in Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings, 77th in the RPI and 53 in ESPN’s BPI ratings. … UE is entering its most difficult stretch of the conference schedule. After the Indiana State game, the Aces visit Southern Illinois (17-3, 6-1) Thursday and host Wichita State (14-5, 8-0) Sunday.

Noting Indiana State: Everett Clemons, a 6-foot-1 reserve guard, leads the Sycamores in rebounding (6.4 per game). He hauled in 16 boards this week versus Southern Illinois. … ISU is third in the MVC in field-goal percentage defense (41.3). … Devonte Brown is 25 points away from 1,000 for his career. He leads the Valley in free throws made (114) and attempted (151). Brown and Brenton Scott have each reached double figures in scoring in all seven MVC contests. … The Sycamores are 34-17 under coach Greg Lansing in games decided by five points or less. … ISU has won four straight homes games against UE. … The Sycamores are No. 121 in Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings, No. 130 in the BPI and No. 131 in the RPI.

Predictions: Evansville is favored by four points. Pomeroy predicts a 73-70 UE win and gives the Aces a 61 percent chance of victory.

 

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D.J. Balentine had 16 points and four assists to lead Evansville to a 35-27 halftime lead over Loyola on Tuesday at the Ford Center.

Balentine handed out two assists and scored four points during a 10-0 run that helped the Aces take a 27-17 lead with 5:03 left. But Loyola guard Milton Doyle scored six straight points as part of an 8-0 spurt, cutting UE’s lead to two points.

But Doyle picked up his third foul on a charge and Loyola coach Porter Moser was whistled for a technical foul.

Balentine answered. He hit 1 of 2 free throws after the technical, sank a floater and found Adam Wing in the corner for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Wing scored eight points, shooting 3 of 3 from the field and 2 of 2 from long range. Egidijus Mockevicius added seven points and 10 rebounds.

Doyle led Loyola with 10 points in only eight minutes of action. The Ramblers outrebounded UE 6-1 on the offensive glass and forced eight turnovers, but shot only 38.7 percent from the field.

Evansville hit 12 of 22 from the field (54.5 percent) and all three of its 3-point attempts.

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Basic info: Loyola (8-10, 1-5 MVC) at Evansville (16-3, 5-1), 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Ford Center

Preview story: Aces will try to push pace against plodding Loyola

TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network; WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Loyola: Earl Peterson (6-3, Sr., G, 9.9 ppg, 2.3 apg); Devon Turk (6-4, Sr., G, 10.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg); Milton Doyle (6-4, Jr., G, 11.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg); Donte Ingram (6-6, So., F, 5.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg); Montel James (6-7, Sr., F, 11.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg).

Evansville: Jaylon Brown (6-0, Jr., G, 11.1 ppg, 3.1 apg); D.J. Balentine (6-2, Sr., G, 21.2 ppg, 4.5 apg); Adam Wing (6-4, Sr., F, 7.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg); Blake Simmons (6-5, Jr., G/F, 5.7 ppg, 3.5 apg); Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Sr., C, 17.1 ppg, 14.3 rpg).

— —

Noting Loyola: Montel James has two double-doubles in his last four games after posting zero in his first 47 contests for the Ramblers. He had 14 points and 12 rebounds Saturday in Loyola’s win at Northern Iowa. … The Ramblers return four of five starters and eight of their top nine scorers from last season’s CBI championship team. Christian Thomas, an undersized-but-effective, 6-foot-5 power forward, is the only starter who graduated. … Loyola is shooting the same field-goal percentage as its opponents — 42.4. … Fifth-year head coach Porter Moser is 64-84 at Loyola. He coached fellow MVC program Illinois State from 2003-07. … Guard Milton Doyle averages 14.4 points at home this season and 7.5 points in road games. For his career, he shoots above 50 percent at home and averages 15 points. On the road, he shoots 37.7 percent and averages 10.9 points. … The Ramblers were selected fifth in the MVC preseason poll.

Noting Evansville: Senior guard D.J. Balentine was recognized as a “player to watch” on Sports Illustrated’s weekly mid-major report. … The Aces are playing on CBS Sports Network for the first time since the final two games of the 2015 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. … Evansville leads the all-time series 24-17 and holds a 3-1 edge since the Ramblers joined the MVC. … Evansville’s 5-1 conference start is the program’s best since 1999, when UE opened at 6-1. The Aces’ best MVC start is 8-1 in ’97-98. … UE is 9-0 at home this season. … Evansville is off to its best start since going 23-3 in 1988-89. … Three Evansville starters shoot above 50 percent from the field: Egidijus Mockevicius (67.0), Jaylon Brown (59.7) and Adam Wing (54.9). … UE is rated No. 6 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. Wichita State (5) and Southern Illinois (11) are also ranked from the conference. … The Aces are No. 35 nationally in the Ken Pomeroy ratings, No. 51 in ESPN’s BPI and No. 77 in the RPI.

Predictions: Evansville is favored by 13 1/2 points. Pomeroy predicts a 70-55 UE win and gives the Aces a 94 percent chance of victory.

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Here are some leftover notes, quotes and observations from Evansville’s 66-55 win Friday over Illinois State. You can read my game story here.

1. Evansville’s 2-3 zone was effective.

That rarely used defensive wrinkle helped the Aces tempt the athletic Redbirds into being passive on offense (but not the offensive glass, where they pulled down 20 rebounds). ISU settled for jump shots and wasn’t successful, shooting a season-low 30.7 percent from the field. Evansville also played some man-to-man, but continued to keep the Redbirds out of the middle.

The Redbirds attempted 31 3-pointers, their second-highest total of the season. They made six to finish 19.4 percent from long range.

“We wanted them to take jump shots but we tried to pressure those jump shots,” Evansville senior Adam Wing said. “We knew they were an ultra aggressive team in transition and in their half-court (offense). We tried to load the gaps and make them make the extra pass.”

UE coach Marty Simmons said the decision to go zone was influenced by a pair of difficult matchups: ISU’s 6-foot-7 MiKyle McIntosh and 6-8 Deontae Hawkins. Both can shoot from the perimeter and drive to the basket.

“They missed some shots there that I know they’re going to make,” said Simmons, who couldn’t recall if the Aces had started a game with a zone defense in his nine-year tenure.

“When (Egidijus Mockevicius) has to match up with Hawkins in man-to-man, that’s a pretty tough matchup for him. We felt like if we were in zone, we could keep (Mockevicius) closer to the basket and try to put pressure on the shots with four other guys.”

Illinois State tried its luck inside on occasion, but struggled to score with 6-10 the Mockevicius roaming.

“I think he affected a lot of shots,” said Hawkins, who was 3 of 15 from the field. “We were not going in there with the mindset of going to the rim, and throwing it up and thinking we were going to get fouled.”

ISU coach Dan Muller said the Redbirds’ struggles were a combination of poor finishing and Mockevicius’ influence.

“He’s certainly a terrific shot blocker but he’s not a freak athlete that’s going to come out of nowhere,” Muller said. “There were a lot of shots we missed around the rim that weren’t affected by him. … But he certainly altered a number of shots other than the one he blocked.”

2. D.J. Balentine set the tone for UE’s offense.

The senior shooting guard was aggressive early, scoring 11 of his game-high 25 points in the first eight minutes. He scored mostly on drives to the basket and by getting to the free-throw line, where he went 10 of 10.

“It’s hard to defend someone who moves without the ball the way he does,” ISU guard Paris Lee said. “If you fall asleep on him, he can just pull up even if you’re on him. As a team, we weren’t locked in. You’ve got to be locked in if you want to defend somebody like him.”

Said Simmons: “What I liked the most was at the end how aggressive he was at driving the basketball in late-clock situations and getting to the free-throw line.”

Balentine said the key to Evansville maintaining the lead was finally hanging onto the ball. The Aces committed 16 turnovers in the game — but just one in the final 15 minutes.

“They like to get into us, they like to make us speed up but we worked two or three days of practice to make sure we were under control and didn’t turn the ball over,” he said. “We did a good job of taking care of the ball in the second half and got what we wanted.”

QUICK HITS: Six players played 193 of the 200 minutes for UE. Here is the minute breakdown of the Aces’ top six players: Wing (40), Mockevicius (38), Jaylon Brown (35), Balentine (31), Mislav Brzoja (27) and Blake Simmons (22). … Mockevicius recorded his third 20-rebound game of the season, which ranks No. 1 in the country. He passed Jerry Sloan for No. 2 on UE’s all-time rebounding list in the win. … Brown reached double figures in scoring for the 10th time in the last 13 games. … Illinois State has lost three straight MVC games after starting 3-0 in the league.

 

 

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NORMAL, Ill. — The University of Evansville men’s basketball team shot 59 percent from the field to overcome 10 turnovers and lead Illinois State 35-29 Friday at Redbird Arena.

UE senior D.J. Balentine scored 15 points, including 11 in the first eight minutes. Jaylon Brown chipped in seven points, Egidijus Mockevicius had six points and eight rebounds, and Adam Wing tallied six points, four rebounds and three assists.

Illinois State shot 13 of 38 (34.2 percent) from the field, but attempted 16 more shots than Evansville due to committing five fewer turnovers and a 9-2 edge in offensive rebounds.

MiKyle McIntosh and Paris Lee scored eight points apiece to pace the Redbirds, who grabbed their largest lead at 23-19 with a Tony Wills 3 with 7:05 left.

But Evansville then ran off a 16-4 run to regain the advantage.

 

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Basic info: Evansville (15-3, 4-1 MVC) at Illinois State (9-9, 3-2 MVC), 8 p.m. Friday at Redbird Arena in Normal, Illinois.

Preview story: Aces seniors look to earn first win at Illinois State

TV/Radio: ESPN2; WUEV 91.5 FM

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Evansville: Jaylon Brown (6-0, Jr., G, 3.3 apg); D.J. Balentine (6-2, Sr., G, 20.9 ppg, 4.6 apg); Blake Simmons (6-5, Jr., G/F, 5.9 ppg, 3.5 apg); Adam Wing (6-4, Sr., F, 7.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg); Egidijus Mockevicius (6-10, Sr., C, 17.3 ppg, 14.0 rpg)

Illinois State: Paris Lee (6-0, Jr., G, 10.1 ppg, 3.4 apg); Tony Wills (6-4, Jr., G, 4.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg); DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (6-5, Sr., G, 13.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg); Deontae Hawkins (6-8, So., F, 8.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg); Quintin Brewer (6-8, Sr., F, 3.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg).

— —

Noting Evansville: UE has won two straight MVC games by 19 or more points, the first time the Aces have accomplished that feat. … Egidijus Mockevicius is 17 rebounds away from tying Jerry Sloan for No. 2 on UE’s all-time list at 1,053. … Evansville is ranked No. 6 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. Other ranked MVC teams: Wichita State (5), Southern Illinois (11) and Northern Iowa (17). … On UE’s career lists, D.J. Balentine ranks third in points (2,143), second in field goals made (717), seventh in free-throw percentage (.787) and sixth in free throws (469) and assists (407). … Jaylon Brown has scored in double figures in nine of his last 12 games, bumping his average to 11.2 points per game. He averaged 3.9 as a freshman and 5.3 as a sophomore.

Noting Illinois State: The Redbirds lead the all-time series 34-18 against UE. ISU is 19-3 at Redbird Arena against the Aces. … ISU returns three of five starters and six letterwinners from last season’s team, which finished 22-13 and lost in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. … ISU was picked fourth in the MVC preseason poll. … Sixth man MiKyle McIntosh scored a career-high 25 points Thursday at Southern Illinois, knocking down five 3-pointers. McIntosh averages 10.1 points per game. … ISU wears warmups with “Ward” on the back, in honor of former associate head coach Torrey Ward, who died in an airplane crash on April 7. … The Redbirds won their first three MVC games after falling behind by double digits. They’ve now lost two games in a row after leading by double digits. … ISU is 8-3 when Deontae Hawkins scores at least 10 points. The Redbirds are 1-6 when he doesn’t. … ISU guard Paris Lee ranks fourth in NCAA Division I over the past two season with 113 steals, trailing only Kris Dunn (Providence), Gary Payton II (Oregon State) and Roderick Bobbit (Hawaii).

Predictions: Evansville is favored by 5 1/2 points. Ken Pomeroy predicts a 74-68 UE win and gives the Aces a 73 percent chance of victory.

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Here are some leftover notes and quotes from Evansville’s win over Drake on Tuesday. You can read my game story here.

1. Evansville’s stars broke out of mini-slumps.

D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius returned to their normal production after off nights by their standards. Mockevicius had 21 points and 12 rebounds, returning to his double-double ways after missing out on a double-double in two straight games. That normally wouldn’t be notable, but since he’s averaging 17.3 points and 14 rebounds it was a bit strange.

Likewise, Balentine scored 24 points Tuesday to break a three-game drought of not reaching 20 (he averaged 16.3 points during that span). Again, this is only worth mentioning because Balentine is in his third season of averaging 20-plus points.

2. UE still had balance.

Jaylon Brown continued his consistent production with 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting, Mislav Brzoja had his highest-scoring game of the conference schedule with 15 and Adam Wing had nine points, three assists and zero turnovers.

“I thought we played in spurts,” said UE coach Marty Simmons, echoing one of his popular postgame comments. “I thought there were times in the game where we played extremely well. Give Drake credit. They were difficult to guard and they made it hard on us at times to score. Overall, it’s a good win for us.”

Wing was part of two of the game’s highlights, flipping a behind-the-back pass to Brown for a layup and ripping off a spin move before finishing in the middle of three defenders.

“His behind-the-back passes, that’s him all the time,” Balentine said. “He’s really good at those, he’s probably the best on the team. The fans were shocked but he’s really good at making those kinds of passes. The spin move is becoming his patented move, the quick spin and finish. He played well; he was excited from the jump, getting everybody pumped up.”

Harris Brown’s statistical line wasn’t much to look at — he missed his only shot and had one steal, one assist and zero turnovers — but the Aces extended their lead while he was in the game. UE will need him to provide some minutes at point guard to spell Jaylon Brown as long as Duane Gibson is out, and it was a good sign that Evansville didn’t lose a step when the freshman was in the game.

QUICK HITS

— Simmons was disappointed with Evansville’s defense in the second half. UE held Drake to 22 points in the first half but allowed the Bulldogs to score 43 in the second.

“Our defense in the first half was pretty good,” Balentine said. “We wanted to make an emphasis on contesting the first side and getting out to a quick start.”

— Evansville committed six turnovers in the first 10 minutes and nine in the first half. However, the Aces had just one giveaway in the second half.

“When we were turning the ball over it was a close game but as soon as we started moving the ball well and taking care of the ball, we started making those runs,” Brzoja said.

— Drake coach Ray Giacoletti was disappointed in his team’s handling of the ball. Primary ballhandlers Reed Timmer and Graham Woodward had four turnovers apiece; as a team, Drake had 15.

“That’s not winning basketball,” Giacoletti said.

 

 

 

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The University of Evansville men’s basketball team made its final five field goals and outscored Drake by 15 over the final nine minutes to lead 38-22 at halftime Tuesday at the Ford Center.

Egidijus Mockevicius led the way with 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks, and threw down a monster two-handed dunk during UE’s late-half flurry.D.J. Balentine added nine points and Mislav Brzoja seven in just nine minutes off the bench.

Evansville shot 16-for-29 in the half (55.2 percent) but committed nine turnovers, including six in the first 10 minutes.

Brzoja had five points and an assist to Blake Simmons for a 3-pointer during an 11-0 Evansville run after Drake cut the lead to one.

Drake Timmer had 10 points for the Bulldogs, followed by Casey Schlatter with five.