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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 2 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Nutter Center (10,449) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Evansville 13-3, WSU 9-3. Away Record: Evansville 2-10, WSU 8-5. Neutral Record: Evansville 0-0, WSU 1-1. Conference Record: Evansville 8-8, WSU 9-5. Series Record: Evansville leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Wright State Raiders play host to the Evansville Purple Aces on Saturday afternoon in a BracketBuster matchup at the Nutter Center.
Evansville, at 15-13 overall, is in the middle of the pack in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with an 8-8 league mark. After dropping four of their previous five contests, the Purple Aces picked up a much-needed 79-62 win over Illinois State on Wednesday. But now it's back to the road for the Purple Aces, who have managed only two victories in 12 tries away from campus this season.
Wright State entered the week tied for third place in the Horizon League standings, as the team is 18-9 overall and 9-5 in league play. The Raiders have won four of their last five outings, and that includes Wednesday's 50-41 triumph at Cleveland State. Following this tilt, they'll head to UIC on Tuesday before wrapping up the regular season at home against Youngstown State next weekend.
Evansville won the only prior meeting in the series between these two programs.
Colt Ryan had the hot hand for Evansville on Wednesday night, as he scored 23 first-half points and finished with a game-high 31. Ryan connected on 4-of-8 3-pointers and also tallied seven rebounds and three steals. Ned Cox added 16 points behind a 4-of-7 effort from the perimeter to go along with six assists. Egidijus Mockevicius controlled the paint, pulling down 11 rebounds in addition to three blocks and eight points on 4-of-4 shooting from the floor. Defensively, the Purple Aces held Illinois State to 37.1 percent shooting. On the season, Ryan (19.2 ppg) is the MVC's second-leading scorer behind Creighton's Doug McDermott. In conference play, Ryan is averaging 22.6 ppg. Cox, a 43 percent shooter from beyond the arc, is averaging 11.6 ppg.
Whereas Evansville relies heavily on its perimeter shooting, the Raiders hang their hats on playing sound defense. In fact, they are the Horizon League's top defensive squad, limiting foes to 58.2 ppg and 40.8 percent shooting from the floor. WSU is also forcing an average of 16.6 turnovers per game for a +3.4 margin. At the offensive end, Cole Darling is the only player averaging double figures with 11.3 ppg. Earlier this week, the Raiders overcame a sluggish shooting night by holding Cleveland State to 41 points on 26.2 percent accuracy from the floor. Matt Vest's 12 points tied a game-high, while Jerran Young tallied 11 points and eight rebounds, and A.J. Pacher added 10 points off the bench to help lift WSU to victory.
This game pits two very different teams from two different leagues against one another. The Purple Aces have the perimeter game to stretch Wright State's defense, but the Raiders have been playing at a higher level of late, and they'll have the homecourt advantage here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wright State 59, Evansville 54
02/23 10:40:36 ET