Aces Welcome Missouri State On Wednesday
February 5, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
EVANSVILLE PRESS RELEASE
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – In their second meeting of the season, the University of Evansville men's basketball team welcomes Missouri State to the Ford Center for a 7:05 p.m. game on Wednesday evening.
Wednesday's contest is a Mustache Mania Game as all fans sporting real or fake mustaches receive a $4 discount on a game day ticket purchase. All UE student-athletes will also be recognized at halftime for their accomplishments in the classroom.
A perfect 8-8 start from the floor got the Aces off to a quick start at Wichita State as they took a 29-14 lead, but the Shockers fought back, finishing the first half on a 25-4 run to take the lead for good. Evansville played the Shockers as well as anyone on their schedule has so far as
D.J. Balentine led the way with 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting; he also knocked down 3 triples.
Limited to just 16 minutes because of foul trouble, Egidijus Mockevicius was next on the squad, scoring eight points while hauling in four rebounds. In two of the toughest games the Purple Aces will have played, Balentine was at his best, averaging 34.5 points per game at UNI and Wichita State; he began the week with a 43-point effort at UNI before posting 26 against the Shockers. He shared MVC Player of the Week honors with Anthony Beane of Missouri
State, it was his league-high third honor of the season.
Over the last three games, redshirt freshman David Howard has come off the bench to give the Aces some stellar minutes. The last three outings have seen him average 15 minutes per game while averaging 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 points. Howard had his best effort thus far against Anderson as he played in 19 minutes and finished with 7 points and 5 rebounds. For the season, Howard has averaged .267 rebounds per minute, a tally that is better than some of the top ten rebounders in the league.
With a 74-61 victory over Bradley on Saturday, Missouri State improved its mark to 15-7 and evened its MVC record at 5-5. The Bears have been a different team at home as opposed to on the road in the conference; MSU is 4-1 at JQH Arena while just 1-4 away from there with that win coming at Bradley on Jan. 8. Missouri State does a great job of taking care of the ball, posting a +1.27 turnover margin, second in the league, while posting a 1.2 assist/turnover ratio, a tally that is tied for third.
Despite missing two of their top players in Marcus Marshall and Keith Pickens, the Bears have remained a force in the Valley, much to the credit of Jarmar Gulley - The senior has put the team on his back, averaging 14.9 points overall this season while bumping that mark up to
17.3 PPG in the MVC; he is also their top rebounder with 6.0 per game. He got the job done on both ends in the home win over Bradley posting game highs in points (19) and rebounds (9);
Gulley was also a difference maker in the win over UE on Jan. 21 as he finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, both the most for either squad.
Since league play has started, Austin Ruder has been one of the top performances when it comes to the 3-pointer; his 2.8 triples per game in MVC action ranks him second behind Matt Bohannon of UNI.
In a close series, Missouri State holds a slight 32-27 edge while Evansville has held its ground at home, winning 18 out of 27 contests. The Aces have won five of the last seven games against the Bears including the last three home efforts. Last year, the Aces held on for a 62-59 overtime win at home as senior guard Troy Taylor hauled in 19 rebounds and Mockevicius scored what was then his career high of 18.