Drake (14-14) at Evansville (11-18)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 25, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ford Center (10,000) -- Evansville, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Drake 8-5, Evansville 9-7. Away Record: Drake 4-8, Evansville 2-11. Neutral Record: Drake 2-1, Evansville 0-0. Conference Record: Drake 5-11, Evansville 4-12. Series Record: Series is tied, 20-20.
GAME NOTES: The Evansville Purple Aces have lost three games in a row, and will try to avoid a disastrous end to their season with two games left. They'll host the Drake Bulldogs in a Missouri Valley Conference clash Tuesday night at the Ford Center
Drake had a two-game win streak snapped with a loss on Saturday night against conference leader Wichita State, 83-54. The Bulldogs have dropped five of their last seven contests, and hold a 5-11 MVC record with just two games left in the regular season.
Evansville has lost three in a row and seven of its last eight games altogether. The Purple Aces dropped a contest on Saturday night to Southern Illinois, 61-56, and fell to 4-14 in conference play.
The all-time series between Drake and Evansville is all tied up at 20 games apiece. Drake pulled even in the series with Evansville on New Year's Day with a 94-66 demolition of the Purple Aces.
Wichita State jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Drake in the first few minutes of play Saturday night, but the Bulldogs made a bit of a run to pull within two points of the now second-ranked Shockers. But the MVC-leading Shockers wouldn't let things get any closer than that, as they ran to a 31-18 halftime lead and continued to build on it in the second half. Jordan Daniels netted 13 points to lead Drake, while Aaron Hawley added 10 points of his own in the loss.
Richard Carter leads the Bulldogs this season in scoring with a 16.6 ppg average on 42.4 percent shooting. His 101 assists and 53 steals on the year are also team highs this season for Drake, which averages 69.1 ppg as a unit this season. Daniels averages 10.7 ppg, and Hawley chips in with 10 ppg. Jacob Enevold tops the squad in rebounding with a 5 rpg average.
Southern Illinois outscored Evansville in the first half of Saturday's Missouri Valley contest, 29-23. The Purple Aces improved their play in the second half, but could only make up one point on the halftime deficit, as the Salukis earned the conference victory. Egidijus Mockevicius tallied 19 points to pace Evansville, adding 11 rebounds to complete the double-double. Blake Simmons chipped in with 11 points, and the Purple Aces connected on a dismal 18.8 percent from 3-point range in the loss.
D.J. Balentine, who has been one of the premiere scorers in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, was held to just two points in Saturday's loss to SIU. He leads Evansville in scoring on the season with 22.2 ppg on 42.5 percent shooting from the floor. Much of Evansville's play runs through Balentine, who adds 121 assists to his stat line on the year. Mockevicius chips in with 10.5 ppg and a team-high 8.3 rpg average, along with 51 blocked shots.
Evansville has really fallen apart, losing at least three consecutive games on five separate occasions this season. Although the Purple Aces are home and facing a Drake team coming off a lopsided loss to Wichita State, the Bulldogs still have the edge against Evansville's sub-par play.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Drake 67, Evansville 58
02/25 10:24:25 ET