Colt Ryan registered his second 30-point effort of the season as the University of Evansville men's basketball team picked up a dominant 79-62 victory over Illinois State Wednesday evening at the Ford Center.
Ryan tallied 23 first-half points for the Aces (15-13, 8-8 MVC) before finishing the night with 31. He hit 9-of-18 shots including four 3-pointers while grabbing seven rebounds. Ned Cox had another stellar outing as he notched 16 points along with six assists. Tyler Brown posted 21 points for the Redbirds (16-12, 7-9 MVC) while connecting on five treys; Jackie Carmichael tallied a game-high 14 rebounds while scoring seven points.
"I'm happy for our guys, we have been playing better lately and have not been rewarded, so this is a nice win for us," UE head coach Marty Simmons said. "They are such an aggressive team and Jackie (Carmichael) is a great player, we were much more disciplined tonight."
After a strong 6-for-6 start to the Creighton game on Saturday, the offense was hitting on all cylinders again as UE downed five of its first seven shots. Ned Cox and Colt Ryan helped the Aces score the first seven points of the game before that edge extended to 11-2 in the first four minutes. Tyler Brown hit a trey to make it an 11-5 game.
Illinois State's offense struggled at the start, hitting two of its opening eight shots while turning the ball over on five occasions as the Aces took a 15-5 lead. Brown had it going from long range, connecting on four of his first six treys to cut the gap to 19-16 with nine minutes remaining in the first half. Following its strong start to the game, the Aces connected on 2 of its next 11 attempts as ISU made its way closer.
The Aces got their offense turned around, knocking down seven of their nine attempts to follow as they opened up the largest lead at 37-26 in the waning minutes of the half. The Redbirds managed to keep it close thanks to stellar outside shooting as they hit seven out of 12 threes in the first half to trail by just 9 (42-33) at the break. Colt Ryan hit seven shots on his way to 23 points in the half.
A quick spurt in the opening minutes of the second half saw the lead reach its largest at 12, 47-35. As was the case in the first half, Illinois State utilized the 3-ball once again, hitting two more to cut the lead to six. Evansville would not relent as they scored eight in a row in a streak that started with Cox knocking down consecutive threes. That run would stretch into a 13-2 variety as John Wilkins was the only ISU player to find the bottom of the net. That streak put UE up by a 60-43 margin midway through the latter frame.
Evansville's lead would go up from there as they led by as many as 23 points (77-54) with 2:35 remaining before settling for the 17-point victory. The win puts the Aces alone in fifth place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with two games to play.
Egidijus Mockevicius grabbed 11 caroms to lead the Aces while his 4-4 night from the floor helped the Aces shoot 42.6% in the game. Illinois State hit 50% of their shots in the first half, but the UE defense clamped down, holding them to just 10-of-36 (27.8%) in the latter frame. UE also finished with a 42-39 rebounding lead.
Making his second start in a row, freshman Adam Wing played a career-high 35 minutes while finishing with eight points and eight rebounds. Troy Taylor contributed seven points, three rebounds and three steals.'
Looking to improve to three games over .500, the Purple Aces travel to Dayton, Ohio on Saturday to face Wright State in the last game of the Ramada BracketBusters series. Game time is set for 1 p.m. CT.
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