EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE)
In its final non-conference game of the regular season, the University of Evansville basketball team will take on Coppin State in a 1 p.m. game at the Ford Center on Sunday afternoon.
A 34-8 game-ending run saw the Purple Aces improve to 9-2 with an 81-63 victory over Alabama State on Sunday at the Ford Center on Dec. 21. Egidijus Mockevicius posted a career-high 25 points to go along with 12 rebounds in the contest; he hit 7 of his 8 free throws and was an impressive 15/17 from the line in the last 2 games.
D.J. Balentine scored 20 points and has pushed his streak of 20+ games to seven in a row. Evansville finished the day shooting an even 50% (29/58); it marked the seventh time this season that the team has shot 50% or better; UE is undefeated in those contests.
With an 81-63 win over Alabama State, UE saw its record jump to 9-2; it is the 8th such start in the Division I era for UE, which began in 1977. Evansville also has nine wins before Christmas for the first time in program history. A win against Coppin State would see the Aces have 10 victories prior to Jan. 1 for the first time in its history.
Mockevicius notched his sixth and seventh double-doubles over the course of the past week for the Aces - the most any UE player has had in a season since 1977 has been 12. On Dec. 22, he was honored as the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week while also garnering College Sports Madness High Major Player of the Week honors. He had a career-best 25 points while hauling in 12 more caroms against Alabama State and became the first player since James Haarsma in 2009 to post 25 or more points and double digit rebounds.
With his effort of 20 points against Alabama State, D.J. Balentine of Evansville has now scored 20 or more points in seven-straight games. He became the first UE player to accomplish the feat since current coach Marty Simmons did so in the final games of his career in 1988. Balentine is one of just 10 players in the nation with 7+ 20-point games this year, through games of Dec. 21; he and Zeek Woodley of Northwestern State are the only among those 10 whose 20-point streaks are active.
Blake Simmons has put together a solid stretch of games, finishing with 12 points per game over his last three contests. He has been a solid shooter all season long as his shooting currently checks in at 50.7%, just outside the top ten in the Valley. Simmons has notched five double figure scoring games this season while hitting 40% (10-25) of his shots from outside.
UE takes on Coppin State for the first time in Sunday's tilt. CSU stands at 1-11 with their victory coming over Goldey-Beacom (103-50). The Eagles have been playing better as of late, falling by just 16 points at Michigan on Monday evening. Two players are averaging double figures for CSU, led by Arnold Fripp's 12.7 points per game; he is shooting a team-high 43.9% and leads the squad with an average of 4.9 rebounds. Taariq Cephas has registered an average of 10.4 points per game while dishing out a team-best 43 assists.
For tickets, call 812-488-ACES or purchase at the Carson Center Ticket Office or at the Ford Center.