Stories from Indiana State’s 81-62 win over Evansville:
–Jaylon Moore had a fantastic game, but unfortunately that was overshadowed by the bad loss. For the first time in several games, the Aces played two forwards and benefitted from it. Moore had 14 points, taking advantage of a mismatch with smaller Sycamore defenders as the bigger forwards were focused on defending Egidijus Mockevicius and David Howard. Mismatches like that figure to be common in the rest of the Valley, so maybe we’ll see more games like this from Moore.
–The guards need to get their confidence back. For the second time this season — the first time since the Anderson game — Duane Gibson was held scoreless, going 0-for-4 from the field. At the beginning of the season, Gibson had a nose for the basket and was aggressive in dribble penetration. When you see so many shots fall short or bounce off the rim, yes, confidence is hard to come by, but Gibson is a playmaker around the basket and in transition that UE needs to shoot the ball. Same with Jaylon Brown. Adam Wing hit a couple of baskets Saturday, and he’s been the most consistent guard not named D.J. Balentine, so he can be a leader to the freshmen guards who’ve been struggling recently. With a backcourt full of weapons, the Aces will be a more balanced team.
–D.J. Balentine can’t do it all. The sophomore guard had 23 points, 12 of them in the first 10 minutes of the game, but when the Sycamores started playing tighter and double-teaming him, UE’s offense puttered out. One player doesn’t make a team, and if the guards can get confidence back and the post can continue to be effective (think Moore’s game on Saturday and Mockevicius’ several consecutive double-figure games), UE could return to their 5-0 form.
–Like Moore and head coach Marty Simmons said after the game, the team needs to keep up intensity for 40 minutes. That’s probably the biggest problem right now, is keeping up the energy, effort, and execution for the whole game. Like Simmons said, the past two games have been lost in the second half. With some leadership, a bit more confidence and good practices, that can be fixed.