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Hornets Can’t Sting Aces

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On Saturday afternoon Evansville faced off against Alabama State at the Ford Center. Evansville was coming off of an 82-70 loss to Murray State one week previously. The Hornets were coming off of their first win of the season Thursday evening over Troy State. Evansville was able to prevent the Hornets from their second win on the season as the Aces picked up the 80-67 victory.

Evansville started the game off fast, scoring 15 points in the first four minutes. This has not been indicative of how Evansville has played throughout the season, as the Aces have had some slow starts in games throughout the early part of the season. From the first to the second media timeout Evansville scored another 12 points to expand their lead to 12 as the Hornets only scored six points over this stretch. This enabled Evansville to build up a double-digit lead early in the game. With Alabama State only having one victory on the season this allowed the Aces to show the Hornets early that Evansville was going to put them away. This is a trait Evansville will need to possess during the conference season as if the Aces are able to put teams away early the games will not remain contests for long.

Evansville coach Marty Simmons thought the Aces did a lot of things better than in the loss to Murray State. “We did a lot of good things – just played harder, played more together overall. Right down the line, I think we had better play from everyone.” Colt Ryan scored a season high 24 points, and two sophomores in Ryan Sewell and Jaylon Moore scored 11 and 10 points respectively.  Evansville had a season high of 19 turnovers, but the Aces did force Alabama State into 22 turnovers. Evansville ended up winning by 13 points, but by lead by as many as 24 points in the second half. With Evansville allowing more points to slip away from the lead, the Aces need to stop this trend from happening. If this continues, Evansville will let more leads slip away like they did with their 15 point first half lead against Murray State. Simmons believes Evansville needs to be more consistent and not let stoppages in play dictate how Evansville is playing. “As the game goes on, we’ve got to maintain that intensity – maintain that flow you’re talking about. We can’t allow stoppages of play from preventing our fast, aggressive play. That’s got to be our mindset at all times.”

Evansville has two games next week, one of which is at home against Oakland City and the second on the road on Saturday December 22 against Butler. With the game against Butler, Evansville has its final chance to notch a signature non conference win which is something the NCAA tournament selection committee considers strongly when selecting teams for a tournament birth. Evansville has shown signs of progress in the Murray State game and others such as at Colorado State, but the Aces have not been able to come out of these contests notching victories.

 

Written by theSPORTSfeast Evansville Insider Bryce Weiler

Photo Courtesy of “The Sports Beast” James Range

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