ACES HOST SIU
February 22, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Several great events are set to take place as the University of Evansville men's basketball team will play host to rival Southern Illinois at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at the Ford Center.
All military personnel, current and former, receive free admission with their military ID's to select sections. Their families will also be able to purchase $5 tickets.
At halftime, the 2013-14 UE Athletics Hall of Fame class will be recognized, the class includes: Charlie Fisher, Jessica Kiefer Fisher, Reed Jackson, Jessica Jetton, Rebekah Parker Legan, John MacCauley Jr. and John MacCauley III.
Following their recognition, former UE great Scott Haffner will have his #3 jersey retired in a halftime ceremony. The first 1,000 fans in attendance to the game receive a special jersey t-shirt honoring the Noblesville, Ind. native.
Indiana State scored the opening ten points of Wednesday's game, but the Purple Aces made their way back, trailing by just five at the half before taking a late 52-51 lead; the Sycamores finished the game on an 8-2 run to come away with the win. D.J. Balentine had 19 points while falling just one assist shy of his career mark with eight. Egidijus Mockevicius finished with his fourth double-double in the last five games as he had 17 points and 12 rebounds; he also added four blocks. For just the second time this season, Evansville finished with more offensive attempts than the opposition, recording 50 shots while Indiana State had 47 on the night.
With 19 points at Indiana State, Balentine became the top sophomore scorer in program history, moving past Ed Smallwood's record of 635. Smallwood did so in the 1957-58 season; just behind him is Parrish Casebier, who tallied 634 points in his sophomore season of 1991-92.
Mockevicius' effort of 17 and 12 at Indiana State marked his fourth double-double in the last five games and was his seventh of the season. His seventh such effort is the most for a UE player in a season since Andy Elkins tallied nine in the 1994-95 campaign. He continues to be the most accurate shooter in the conference and is 12th in the nation, shooting 62.5% on the season; he has hit 19 out of 24 attempts over the last three games. Free throw shooting has also been a strong point for Mockevicius; over the last 12 games, he has connected on 44 of his 54 attempts from the line.
Southern Illinois has boon on a roll as of late, going 4-2 in their last six games with the two losses being road games at Wichita State and Indiana State; even more impressive has been the margin of victory in those four triumphs - 17.3 PPG. If the MVC Tournament started today, the 11-17 Salukis (7-8 in the MVC) would be the No. 4 seed in St. Louis; last time out, SIU grabbed a 75-64 win over Bradley at SIU Arena.
Offense has been one of the keys to SIU's recent success, the No. 2 shooting team in the conference (46.6%) has seen that number remain steady in conference games, hitting 46% of their shots. Defensively, the Salukis allow the opposition to garner just 30.3 rebounds in
MVC play, the best number overall; they also own a +1.9 rebounding margin in conference games, second behind only Wichita State.
Senior Desmar Jackson has been the difference maker for the Salukis, posting 19.3 PPG, second behind Balentine; his performance on the defensive side of the floor have resulted in a league-best 2.4 steals per game and a team-best 5.4 rebounds, 62 assists and 11 blocks.
Just behind Jackson are a pair of sophomores in Anthony Beane and Jalen Pendleton; Beane, whose father is an assistant coach at SIU, has notched 14.1 points and leads the Salukis with 44 3-pointers; he is coming off of a 27-point, 8-rebound effort in the Bradley win, tying his career high in points. Pendleton, who is an Evansville native and Bosse graduate, is third on the squad with 9.9 points.
Evansville ended a 12-game losing streak in Carbondale with a 75-69 victory over the Salukis on January 11; the win put UE's mark in the series at 50-66. UE has held strong at home, going 34-22 versus SIU while going 15-41 on the road. In the last three home games, the Aces have won by an average of 17.3 points per game but since 1999, SIU holds a 25-8 mark against the Purple Aces.