Evansville (10-14) at Bradley (10-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 9, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,433) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Evansville 8-5, Bradley 9-4. Away Record: Evansville 2-9, Bradley 1-8. Neutral Record: Evansville 0-0, Bradley 0-2. Conference Record: Evansville 3-8, Bradley 5-6. Series Record: Bradley leads, 24-19.
GAME NOTES: The Evansville Purple Aces will try to end a three-game losing streak as they travel to Peoria to face the Bradley Braves in Missouri Valley Conference action at Carver Arena.
The Purple Aces have dropped three consecutive contests and four of their last five games, leaving them 3-8 in the MVC standings - eight games back of Wichita State for first place. Evansville is coming off a 66-54 loss to Missouri State Wednesday.
Bradley has won two of its last three games played, including a 63-54 defeat of Loyola-Chicago Thursday night on the road. Bradley is 5-6 in conference play this season, six games back of Wichita State.
Bradley holds a 24-19 all-time series lead over Evansville. The Braves, however, lost earlier this season at Evansville, 66-60. The Purple Aces have won five of the last seven matchups in the series.
Missouri State took a 31-27 lead into the intermission against Evansville in the Purple Aces' last outing, but the second half is when the Bears opened things up for some breathing room. Evansville went 0-of-11 from 3-point range in the half, and shot just 32.1 percent from the floor. Egidiju Mockevicius led the Purple Aces with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Blake Simmons added 12 points. D.J. Balentine, the leading scorer on the Evansville squad, netted just 11 points in the loss.
Balentine has proven to be one of the top scorers in the nation, netting 22.6 ppg on 43.4 percent shooting for the Purple Aces through 24 games played. Balentine's 40.9 percent shooting mark from 3-point distance is a team best, and 907 assists on the year is second only to Duane Gibson's 100 assists. Mockevicius leads the team in rebounding with a 7.7 rpg average.
Walt Lemon Jr. returned to his native Chicago to tear up the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, netting a team-high 21 points for Bradley in the Thursday night win. Lemon shot 7-of-16 from the floor, and went 7-of-11 from the free-throw line. Tyshon Pickett chipped in 13 points and nine boards, while Omari Grier netted 11 points. The Braves connected on just 35.8 percent of their field goal tries in the win.
Lemon has separated himself from the rest of his team in terms of scoring this season. The Guard averages 17.3 ppg on 41.8 percent shooting from the floor. His 100 assists on the season is a team high, but so is his 84 turnovers statistic. Pickett leads the team in rebounding at 7 rpg, and is second in scoring with 11.7 ppg. Grier rounds out the top three scorers with 10.8 ppg for the Braves.
Evansville hasn't been able to keep up with its opponents lately, and when Balentine isn't scoring his typically high numbers, the rest of the team suffers. Bradley can take advantage of the Purple Aces with good frontcourt play and steady defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bradley 68, Evansville 59
02/09 10:17:41 ET