Homestand Continues As Aces Play SEMO On Thursday


Aces tangle with Redhawks at 7 p.m.

The third home game in six days is on tap for the Purple Aces as they play host to Southeast Missouri State on Thursday evening at 7 p.m.  It will mark the second meeting in the last three seasons at the Ford Center.  Evansville opens up its season with four home games in a row for the first time since 1986-87; UE won all four of those contests that year.

In front of 6,048 fans on Monday at the Ford Center, the Aces took down North Carolina Central by a final of 68-55.  UE’s defense made the difference, forcing 26 turnovers and turning them into 26 points.  Evansville had at least three players hit double digits in scoring for the second game in a row.

Another stellar outing saw Ryan Taylor hit 8 out of 16 shots and a career-best 10/13 showing from the free throw line on his way to 29 points against NC Central.  His season mark of 26.0 points per game puts him second in the MVC.  Taylor has gotten to the line 19 times in just two games, making 16 of those attempts; he shot just 92 free throws in 33 games last season.

Dru Smith continued to impress in his sophomore season as he dished out 11 assists while scoring 8 points versus the Eagles.  Smith’s assist tally was the most by a UE player since Duane Gibson had 11 against Anderson in 2013.  As a freshman, Smith averaged 5.3 points per game, but has upped that to 9.5 through the first two games of the season.  Last season, Smith had an impressive assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.45 and has picked right up where he left off in 2017-18, notching 13 assists against just two turnovers in the opening pair of games.

Dalen Traore has made the start at center in both games thus far and has gotten better each time out.  Against NCCU, Traore finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds while being on the floor for 24 minutes.  He also connected on both free throw attempts.

Southeast Missouri State comes into Thursday’s match-up with an even 1-1 mark.  After opening the season with an 81-69 win over Missouri Baptist, the Redhawks fell in overtime at Louisiana Tech by a final of 96-95.  Denzel Mahoney is the leading scorer for SEMO and the Ohio Valley Conference, standing at 23.0 points per game.  Just behind him is Ledarrius Brewer with 17.

Prior to the contest, the Aces will hold a Pregame Party at the DoubleTree Hotel, which is connected to the Ford Center.  It runs from 4:30 p.m. until game time at 7 p.m.  Head coach Marty Simmons will speak at 5:15 pm while Aces legend Marcus Wilson will be on hand at 6:15.  Admission is just $20 and includes a parking space for the evening in the DoubleTree parking garage and a full meal at the event.