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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (13,080) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Evansville 4-0, Ohio 4-0. Away Record: Evansville 1-1, Ohio 1-1. Neutral Record: Evansville 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Evansville 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: The Ohio University Bobcats try to extend their amazing success at the Convocation Center this afternoon when they entertain the Evansville Purple Aces.
The Bobcats are 42-3 in their past 45 home games and 4-0 at the Convocation Center this season.
Today's game is part of the Ohio Classic, which the Bobcats are already 3-0 in following victories over Valparaiso, Heidelberg and Mercer. Most recently, the Bobcats beat Mercer, 76-67 on Tuesday, behind 23 points and 11 rebounds from Maurice Ndour. Jon Smith added 16 points and 11 boards for the Bobcats, who won despite shooting just 37.9 percent from the field, including 5-of-20 from 3-point range.
Ndour, a 6-foot-9 junior forward, leads the team with 15.5 points per game. Nick Kellogg, who enters today's game 34 points shy of 1,000 for his career, is the only other double-digit scorer, as the senior guard is averaging 15.0 points. Ndour and Kellogg are shooting 53.1 percent and 51.9 percent, respectively, from the field. Ndour has made half of his 12 3-point tries, while Kellogg is 15-of-31 from beyond the arc. In fact, factor in the team's third-leading scorer in Ricardo Johnson, and the trio is hitting 25-of-50 from behind the 3-point line for the season. The problem has been some of the supporting players, which have brought down the team to a 33.6 percentage from beyond the arc. Stevie Taylor, a 5-foot-10 junior guard who is averaging 9.2 points, is just 4-of-25 from long distance.
Ohio struggled in its first five games from the foul line with a .655 percentage, but righted the ship by hitting 27-of-32 in the Mercer game.
Evansville is coming off its first loss of the season on Tuesday at Indiana, 77-46. The Purple Aces were paced by D.J. Balentine with 14 points, but he too struggled with his shot, hitting only 5-of-17 from the floor and missing all five chance behind the 3-point line. Duane Gibson pitched in with 10 points. The Purple Aces have defeated Mercer and Valparaiso as part of the Ohio Classic.
The Purple Aces are led by sophomore guard D.J. Balentine, who ranks among the top-10 in the nation in scoring at 27 points per game. Balentine is shooting 53.5 percent from the field, including 15-of-28 from 3-point range. He's also made 55 of his 60 free throws and has scored at least 29 points in all but one game this season. Freshman guard Duane Gibson, who is one of four players averaging double-digits with 10.8 points, is the team's leading rebounder with 4.7 per contest. Adam Wing, a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard, is second in scoring at 11.7 ppg, while 6-foot-6 swingman Blake Simmons (10.3 ppg) is also part of the starting lineup, along with sophomore center Egidijus Mockevicius (5.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg).
The Purple Aces are putting up a gaudy 82.8 points per game, but their defense is allowing 76.7 ppg, which is near Ohio's offensive average (74.3 ppg) in the early going. The Bobcats will need to put the clamps on Balentine to extend their success at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 76, Evansville 74
11/30 11:13:30 ET
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