Western Illinois (2-1) at Evansville (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 8:35 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ford Center (11,000) -- Evansville, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: WIU 1-0, Evansville 1-1. Away Record: WIU 0-1, Evansville 0-1. Neutral Record: WIU 1-0, Evansville 0-0. Conference Record: WIU 0-0, Evansville 0-0. Series Record: Evansville leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Evansville Purple Aces try to follow up their first win of the 2012-13 campaign with another strong outing as they host the Western Illinois Leathernecks at the Ford Center as part of subregional action in the 2012 Coaches vs, Cancer Classic.
In the first two games of the season, the Purple Aces were taken out by both Notre Dame (58-49) and Buffalo (56-50), but on Friday the squad finally got over the hump with a 66-56 triumph versus the Yale Bulldogs.
As for the Leathernecks, they enter the weekend tied for the best record after three games in the Summit League at 2-1. The team tipped off the campaign with a 71-39 thrashing of Wabash a week ago, but then followed that with a 62-50 loss versus SIU-Edwardsville on Wednesday. Yesterday the team rebounded with a 67-58 triumph over Buffalo to get back over .500.
The Aces own a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series with WIU, thanks in part to a 68-45 victory in the most recent meeting last season at home.
The Leathernecks still have one more game in this current run as they clash with the Yale Bulldogs on Sunday, but in this case the teams move to the Johnson Center in Oakland City.
In a game that featured six ties and 13 lead changes, it was the defense in the second half for the Leathernecks that made all the difference as the squad held Buffalo to just eight made field goals on 24 attempts. From an offensive standpoint, Ceola Clark led the way with a game-high 19 points, adding five rebounds and four assists to round out his stat line, while Terell Parks added 12 points and eight boards before fouling out. Adam Link dropped in 10 points and Don McAvoy, inserted into the starting lineup as a replacement for Jason Hawthorne, responded with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds. McAvoy's rebounding effort was the first double-digit tally of the season for WIU as the team still holds a slight edge in that department over the competition (2.0 rpg). Clark, who has made good on 52.9 percent of his three-point tries, leads the way in scoring with 15.3 ppg, although Parks is right on his tail (15.0 ppg).
Like Western Illinois, the Purple Aces were also involved in a seesaw battle of their own on Friday as they experienced six ties and 15 lead changes before capturing the double-digit win over Yale. The squad got a huge lift from the bench as DJ Balentine and Jordan Jahr contributed 16 and 12 points, respectively, as the combined to shoot 11-of-18 from the field, which means the rest of the team combined for only 12-of-31 from the floor. Ryan Sawvell and Lewis Jones each dropped in 10 points in an effort to make up for Ned Cox who, even though he tallied nine points, he shot just 2-of-13 in the outing. Evansville lost the battle of the boards, 35-22, but helped to balance the ledger by forcing 19 turnovers. For a team that is scoring just 55.0 ppg, it should come as little surprise that the Aces don't have a single player hitting for double figures through three contests, although Jones comes close with his 9.0 ppg.
Shooting just 36.9 percent from the field and 22.4 percent behind the three- point line thus far, Evansville isn't giving itself much of a chance to land in the win column on a consistent basis, and that should help Western Illinois in this outing.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Illinois 61, Evansville 57
11/17 10:30:44 ET