EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - In just ten minutes of time, Purple Aces redshirt sophomore David Howard scored a career-high 16 points as the University of Evansville basketball team rolled to an 89-62 victory over IUPUI on Saturday evening at the Ford Center.?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /
Howard hit all four field goal attempts while having his best night from the free throw line as 8 out of 11 found the bottom of the net. D.J. Balentine continued to pace the UE (6-1) offense, scoring a game-high 22 points. He connected on three 3-pointers.
"I was getting good passes and my guys were finding me. I worked to get the ball and finish strong," Howard explained. Our bench role is never to come in and just get minutes, we always try to bring energy."
Mislav Brzoja had a stellar second half for the Aces. He finished with 10 points and three assists. The leading free throw shooter in the Missouri Valley Conference continued his success, hitting all five attempts.
"I thought we came out focused and we playing with intensity and paying attention to detail. The first half was outstanding," head coach Marty Simmons said. "When we are locked in and focused, we play some pretty good basketball. We have not been able to sustain that for 40 minutes and that is what good teams are able to do."
A stellar first half on both ends saw the Aces take a 40-16 lead at the half. IUPUI (2-5) played well in the opening moments as they swapped the lead with UE on four occasions. With 13:59 left in the half, the Purple Aces made their run. Down 9-8, Jaylon Brown hit one of his three first-half baskets to send the Aces on a 19-0 run.
Evansville drained eight out of 11 attempts in the run as Balentine notched a pair of triples. His three at the 8:13 mark capped off the stretch. Inside of three minutes remaining, the lead hit 21 as Egidijus Mockevicius hit his fourth shot of the game. Adam Wing finished the half with back-to-back field goals, including a beautiful feed from Brown as UE extended the advantage to 24.
Balentine led everyone with 12 in the stanza while Mockevicius was close to a double-double in just 20 minutes, posting 8 points and 7 boards.
Out of the break, the offense continued to click, connecting on 13 out of 22 from the floor. The Jaguars got as close as 19 in the second half with 9 minutes remaining, but the Aces held strong. A Brzoja free throw inside of the 5-minute mark saw the lead grow to as many as 29 before the Aces finished up with the 89-62 win.
The Aces finished the night shooting 56.6% and increased its season average to 54.4%. The home shooting has been even better as UE checks in at 62%. Ten rebounds from Mockevicius led to the Aces finishing with a 33-30 edge on the boards.
Mockevicius fell just a point shy of his fifth double-double of the season, adding nine points to go with his 10 caroms. Duane Gibson hit 5-of-6 from the charity stripe en route to nine points.
UE was credited with an assist in 23 out of 30 makes. Jaylon Brown was responsible for seven of those, which set his career mark. He has 15 helpers in his last four games.
Leo Svete led the way for IUPUI with 17 points. He hit four out of eight from outside. Mason Archie added 11 tallies. IUPUI finished the night shooting 40.7% while turning the ball over on 19 occasions.
On Tuesday, Evansville hits the road for the final time in non-conference play. The Aces make the short trip to Nashville, Tenn. to take on Belmont. Tip is set for 7 p.m.