Looking for their first conference victory of the season, the University of Evansville men’s basketball team head to Carbondale, Ill. on Wednesday to face Southern Illinois in a 7 p.m. game inside SIU Arena.
Playing with all five starters at their disposal for the first time in over a month, the Purple Aces fell by a final of 66-59 on Saturday at Loyola. Up by a point with 4:48 left, the Ramblers finished the game on a 15-9 run to finish off the win.
Sophomore Dru Smith missed four games due to injury but showed no signs of missed time against Loyola on Saturday in his first game back. Smith finished with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting and was on the floor for 35 minutes while leading everyone with four steals. He has notched eight double-figure scoring efforts this season, surpassing his total of four from his freshman campaign.
Since returning from a foot injury that caused him to miss seven games, Ryan Taylor has averaged 21 PPG in two contests. Taylor attempted a career-high 22 shots on his way to 22 points against Illinois State; at Loyola, Taylor was an efficient 8-of-16 on his way to 20 points.
On Wednesday, the Purple Aces look for their 5th win in a row at SIU Arena after losing 12 in a row at the facility. The last opponent the Aces defeated on the road in five straight games was Loyola - UE topped the Ramblers six times in a row on the road between 1989 and 1994; UE also enjoyed 5-game road win streaks over Detroit Mercy and Butler in the early 1990’s.
Southern Illinois stands at 9-6 overall and 1-1 in Valley play. The Salukis picked up a 56-53 win at UNI to start the league schedule before dropping a 70-67 home game against Drake. SIU spreads the scoring around as four players average double figures. Armon Fletcher leads the way with 12.9 points per game while Sean Lloyd sits with 12.6 PPG. Kavion Pippen and Aaron Cook average 11.9 and 10.0 points, respectively.
Following Wednesday’s contest, UE is back home on Saturday to face Bradley in a 3 p.m. game.