first_imgEVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville men’s basketball team opens up Missouri Valley Conference play in a big way, hosting Indiana State in the league opener on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. inside the Ford Center.Wednesday’s game against the Sycamores will be “West Side Night with the Aces” as fans can pick up vouchers to purchase $5 tickets to the game at several locations throughout the west side of Evansville.  The game will also promote awareness of Logan’s Promise at the Ford Center.For the second year in a row, Evansville went through non-conference play with just two losses, finishing up at 11-2.  The much-awaited MVC schedule will begin on December 30 with a visit to the Ford Center by Indiana State.  That game will be followed by a pair of tough road tests at Missouri State and Wichita State.  UE is a perfect 7-0 at home for the first time since 2008-09 when the Aces won their first 10 games at Roberts Stadium.Evansville is an unbelievable 16-2 in its last 18 games, dating back to the beginning of the CIT Championship run in March.  The run is UE’s top streak since 1988-89 when the Purple Aces went 21-2 from December of ’88 through February of ’89.  UE has gone 11-2 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1987-88 and 88-89 campaigns.  After beginning at 14-2 in 87-88, UE went on to play in the NIT; a season later, the Aces were 11-2 en route to a berth in the NCAA Tournament.Reigning MVC Player of the Week Egidijus Mockevicius has moved to the top of the national lead in rebounding with 13.9 per game.  In just 24 minutes of play last week against Alabama A&M, Mockevicius posted his 11th double-double in 13 games with 19 points and 18 rebounds.D.J. Balentine continues to be the nation’s leading active scorer with 2,048 points.  He is the only player in the NCAA, regardless of division, to stand with 2,000 points or more.  Balentine recorded 19 points against the Bulldogs last Tuesday and remains atop the conference.Jaylon Brown set his career high for the second time in three games, posting 19 points in the win over Alabama A&M as he hit 7 of his 9 attempts.  Over his last seven games, Brown has knocked down 30 of his 49 attempts, 61.2%.  Since scoring four points in the opener against SEMO, Brown has registered six points or more every time out, including eight double-figure outings.Indiana State begins league play with an even 6-6 record after defeating Ball State on December 22 by a final of 73-61.  Devonte Brown leads the Sycamores with 14.1 points per game and has taken a team-high 140 shots.  Brenton Scott is just behind him with 13.4 PPG and was the top scorer in the win over the Cardinals, tallying 19 points.  Khristian Smith sits at 11.4 points and is the top rebounder on the squad, checking in at 6.2 per game.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img