UE Men’s Hoops Looks To Make It Five In A Row


EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Looking to win for the fifth time in a row, the University of Evansville men’s basketball team travels to Drake for a Wednesday evening matchup at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Evansville made it 2-for-2 versus ranked opponents at the Ford Center as the Purple Aces took down No. 23 Wichita State by a 71-67 final on Sunday afternoon. The win gave UE a 4-1 conference mark, matching its start from the 1999-2000 season. Other notable starts to league play for UE since joining the MVC came in the form of a 6-0 start in 1998-99 and an 8-1 mark in the 1997-98 campaign.

UE has not lost to a ranked opponent at the Ford Center; the Aces topped No. 15 Creighton last year before toppling No. 23 Wichita State this season. For the first time in program history, Evansville has defeated a ranked opponent four seasons in a row. Aces Coach Marty Simmons has led UE 4-5 mark in the last 9 games versus a ranked team, which is the top 9-game stretch in program history. The Aces have won three home games against ranked teams, dating back to the win over UNI in 2011; Simmons is 3-2 in home contests vs. ranked teams.

For the third-straight game and the fifth time in the last six contests, Colt Ryan eclipsed the 20-point mark, pushing his season average to a team-high 16.4 points per game. Ryan became just the 27th player in the history of the Valley to reach the 1,800-point plateau; he now stands at 1,840 points in his career, good for 22nd in league history; with just 29 more points, Ryan will jump into the top 20 in the MVC record book.

Colt is finding his groove; in the 10 non-conference games he played in, he posted an average of 13.7 points while seeing just over 24 minutes of action; he has upped that total in league play, posting 21.8 points while playing in 36.6 minutes per contest; he also has hit 23 out of 24 free throws.

While it is no easy chore for a true point guard to keep up one of the top rebounding tallies in the nation, Troy Taylor has done just that as his mark for the season stands at 7.4 boards per game, tied for fourth in the MVC; in league play, he has grabbed 9.8/game, second overall. Aside from his performance on the boards, Taylor has started to crank it up offensively, posting double-digit outings in his last three games and six times overall this season, matching the total from his junior year.

Drake earned its first MVC win, taking down Illinois State by an 82-77 final in Normal on Saturday; the Bulldogs stand at 7-9 overall and 1-4 in the Valley. Ben Simons leads the way for DU with 14.5 PPG, that total is seventh in the league while Seth VanDeest has notched 10.1 tallies; Simons is also a stellar free throw shooter, connecting on 35 out of 41 this year, 85.4% (4th in the conference). Despite the team being outrebounded by 4.3 per game, Jordan Clarke has been a force down low, grabbing 8.1 per game, second in the MVC. The Bulldogs boast the top 3-point shooter in the Valley as Micah Mason has drained a league-leading 57.9% of his treys (22 out of 38) – As a team, Drake is shooting 38.7% from three-point range; that total is 25th in the country and second in the league.

The road stretch continues as Evansville will travel to Terre Haute for its annual tilt against Indiana State at the Hulman Center. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. CT.