EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Winning four of their last five games, the University of Evansville looks to keep rolling on Saturday with a trip to Springfield, Mo. to take on Missouri State. On Wednesday, the Purple Aces held off a furious rally to sweep the season series over Valparaiso with a 63-59 win. Ryan Taylor scored 31 points while K.J. Riley added seven.
Another efficient shooting effort saw Ryan Taylor score 31 points on 10-of-23 shooting against Valparaiso. That came on the strength of a 32-point game at Illinois State; he is the first since D.J. Balentine to score 30 points in consecutive games; Balentine did so in the 2014 MVC Tournament against Drake and Wichita State. Taylor has now scored 20 points or more in five straight games and is averaging 27.0 points per game over that span.
Taylor played all 40 minutes for the second game in a row and recorded a game-high seven boards.
Riley's contest on Wednesday was highlighted by a 3-5 effort from the field on his way to nine points and six rebounds. Just behind him was Dainius Chatkevicius, who had seven points and four caroms.
UE improved to 13-2 at the Ford Center this season with the win and extended its home win streak against the Crusaders to 21 games. The last home loss versus Valpo came on February 1, 1969.
Preseason conference favorite Missouri State enters Saturday's game with a 16-10 mark and stand at 6-7 in the MVC following Tuesday's 81-62 win at Indiana State. Alize Johnson continues to be one of the top players in the country, pacing the Bears with 15.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, he is also second on the team with 61 assists. Behind him is Jarrid Rhodes, who checks in with 9.5 points per contest.
The series between the Aces and Bears is tied up at 34-34. Evansville has won seven of the last eight games against MSU while winning two of the last three in Springfield.