Aces roll in Ryan's return

Colt Ryan, who missed two of the last three games, scored a team-high 13 points as the Purple Aces men's basketball team won its fourth in a row, cruising to a 72-46 win over Alabama A&M on Monday night at the Ford Center.

Ryan hit three 3-pointers in the win while notching seven assists.  Ned Cox finished with 11 points while Jaylon Moore set a career mark with 10 points, his first double-digit outing for the Aces (4-2).  After being outrebounded by a 20-18 margin in the first half, Evansville rallied to finish with a 42-36 advantage in that department.  Egidijus Mockevicius and Troy Taylor had six apiece.

"We played very well in spurts," Aces head coach Marty Simmons said.  "The guys really rose to the challenge over the last four games; our team really stepped up.  We still have a lot to improve on, but we are working towards our goals each day."

It was Alabama A&M (2-3) who had the early advantage as Evansville began the game 1-of-6 from the floor with a pair of turnovers.  Ned Cox got UE on the board with a trey before Troy Taylor and Jaylon Moore picked up buckets to give Evansville a 7-6 lead seven minutes into the contest.

Later, Colt Ryan, who missed two of the last three games, came off the bench to knock down his first three-pointer of the season to put the Aces up 12-9.  His bucket sparked the offense as they went on an 11-0 run to jump out to a 20-9 lead.  Egidijus Mockevicius had a strong dunk off of a Troy Taylor steal as UE hit 7-of-11 shots after its slow start.

Evansville held the Bulldogs without a field goal for a span of 8:55 before taking a 38-21 lead at halftime.  Ryan led UE with 8 points in the period as all ten players who saw action scored at least two points in the half.  Nine out of ten contributed on the boards, grabbing at least one rebound.

Mockevicius came out firing in the second half.  His back-to-back buckets helped Evansville go up by 20 before the lead continued to grow.  The Purple Aces hit eight of their first 16 shots of the second frame while the defense held the Bulldogs to 0-10 shooting before a Justan Banks dunk at the 10-minute mark cut the Aces lead to 60-26.

The lead reached as many as 39 (65-26) with eight minute to go before Evansville cruised to the 72-46 win.  Freshman D.J. Balentine put forth another solid effort, hitting 4-of-8 shots to tally nine while fellow frosh Mockevicius added three more blocks to give him a total of 11 on the season.

Brandon Ellis led the Bulldogs with 12 points while Demarquelle Tabb hauled in nine rebounds.  AAMU shot 30.6% on the night while the Aces were 44.4% from the field.

A trip to Fort Collins, Colo. awaits the Aces this weekend as they will square off against Colorado State as part of the MVC/Mountain West Challenge.  The Aces and Rams will play on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CT before coming home for its next four contests.