The Evansville Purple Aces will travel to Redbird Arena to take on the Illinois State Redbirds this Saturday afternoon in College Basketball action.
The Evansville Purple Aces improved to 7-7 (1-0 MVC) on the season after defeating the Drake Bulldogs, 82-77 in 2OT, this past Wednesday. In a tight back and forth game, Evansville was able to pull away after Marty Hill’s 2nd three-pointer of double-OT gave the Purple Aces a 76-67 lead with just 1:50 remaining. Evansville shot just 39.3% from the field, however, held Drake to just 36.0% from the field & 18.5% from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Purple Aces was K.J. Riley who had 25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and a steal.
On the season, Evansville is averaging 75.3 ppg on 42.8% shooting from the field. The Purple Aces are averaging 7.8 three-pointers per game on 33.3% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Evansville has been led by K.J. Riley (14.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.4 spg), Shea Feehan (12.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.1 apg), Mary Hill (10.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg), and John Hall (9.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.7 apg).
Defensively, Evansville is allowing their opponents to average 74.4 ppg on 42.0% shooting from the field. The Purple Aces have a rebound margin of -4.4 and a turnover margin of 0.9.
The Illinois State Redbirds lost their 2nd straight game and dropped to 7-7 (0-1 MVC) on the season after being defeated by the Valparaiso Crusaders, 58-56, this past Wednesday. Illinois State led by 54-44 margin with just 2:07 left in regulation, however, struggled offensively down the stretch and allowed the Crusaders to get the dramatic come from behind victory after Valparaiso’s Markus Golder hit a half court shot as time expired for the victory. Illinois State shot 44.9% from the field & 36.8% from beyond the arc in the loss. Leading the way for the Redbirds was Zach Copeland who had 21 points, 6 rebounds, & 3 assists.
On the season, Illinois State is averaging 74.1 ppg on 43.4% shooting from the field. The Redbirds are averaging 8.6 three-pointers per game on 34.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Illinois State has been led by Milik Yarbrough (16.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.7 apg), Phil Fayne (15.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg), Zach Copeland (11.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.4 apg), and Josh Jefferson (11.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.0 apg).
Defensively, Illinois State is allowing their opponents to average 76.3 ppg on 43.9% shooting from the field. The Redbirds have a rebound margin of -2.2 and a turnover margin of -0.1.
The Purple Aces are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games. The Redbirds are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. MVC opponents and 17-7-1 ATS in their last 25 games following a straight up loss.
Evansville has won 2 of their last 3 games and have been decent on both ends of the court this season as the Purple Aces rank 152nd in scoring offense, 49th in FT%, and 114th in defensive FG%. Illinois State has lost 5 of their last 6 games and has struggled recently offensively as they are averaging just 56.0 ppg on their two game losing streak. Illinois State ranks 183rd in scoring offense, 243rd in FG%, and 275th in scoring defense.
Illinois State has the best player on the floor in Milik Yarbrough, however, the Redbirds have really struggled defensively as of late as in their last 6 games, they are allowing their opponents to average 77.0 ppg. Evansville is 0-6 on the road this season, however, I liked how they looked against a very good Drake team on Wednesday and as they gave Murray State all they could handle in a 66-64 loss at Murray State, I think the Purple Aces will be able to do enough with the points to cover in this one.