Aces rout Southern Illinois, move above .500 in MVC play

• Bookmarks: 5

Every so often, a University of Evansville player or coach answers to a loss by saying, “We just didn’t play Evansville basketball.”

The Aces didn’t have to question their offensive hoops brand Saturday in an 85-68 win over Missouri Valley Conference opponent Southern Illinois at the Ford Center.

Evansville (9-6, 2-1 MVC) went 30 of 52 from the field, assisted 22 of those made baskets and shot 88.9 percent at the free throw line in raising its league record above .500 for the first time this season.

MOLLY BARTELS / COURIER & PRESS Southern Illinois’ Desmar Jackson, right, defends against University of Evansville’s, Troy Taylor, left, during a game at the Ford Center in Evansville Saturday.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” said senior Ned Cox. “We still have a lot of things we need to work on, especially on the defensive end. I thought offensively we were clicking today — making the extra pass and taking care of the ball for the most part.”

Colt Ryan led the way with 26 points, a season high, while connecting on 7 of 7 free throws against the undermanned Salukis. Cox scored 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting, Lewis Jones added 11 points and Troy Taylor chipped in 10 to go with a team-high seven rebounds and six assists.

It marked the first time in which each of the Aces’ four scholarship seniors reached double figures during the same game, and the totals added up to the most points Southern Illinois has allowed.

“You’re talking about a team that shot incredibly all night long,” said Salukis coach Barry Hinson. “They just dissected us.”

In its first season under Hinson, formerly of Missouri State, Southern Illinois (7-7, 0-3 MVC) played all eight scholarship players available in its fourth straight loss.

Between his time coaching the Bears and now the Salukis, Hinson said he’s faced Evansville’s seniors 19 times.

“I’d like to have had some of my old teams playing tonight instead of some of these guys, but that’s just part of it,” Hinson said.

The Aces carried a 37-31 lead into the half and broke open the margin to open the second, when they outscored the Salukis 23-6 over a six-plus minute span. Evansville took a 23-point lead — the Aces’ largest — on a Ryan layup with 13:39 to play.

“I thought in the first half we had some careless turnovers in transition,” said Evansville coach Marty Simmons. “Two or three times we didn’t capitalize when throwing underhanded passes, and I thought in the second half we played simpler. Obviously guys made shots. That helps.”

Southern Illinois led only briefly, at 6-4 in the first half, and the scored was tied three times before the Salukis switched from their man defense to a zone. Evansville punished the visitors for it when Ryan and Cox followed with back-to-back 3-pointers.

The lead grew from there in front of an announced 6,032 fans at the Ford Center.

“The crowd gives us so much energy,” Ryan said. “I don’t even know really how to explain how much it gives us. It’s a great feeling to see people in the crowd cheering for us. We greatly appreciate it and hope they keep coming out.”

5 recommended
comments icon0 comments
0 notes
bookmark icon

Write a comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *