EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Colt Ryan scored a game-high 17 points as the University of Evansville men's basketball team picked up a 79-54 win over Illinois-Springfield in the exhibition finale on Saturday afternoon at the Ford Center.
Ryan did it all once again, hitting 5-of-13 shots and all six free throw attempts while recording nine assists, six rebounds and four steals. Ned Cox posted a 12-point effort while Jordan Jahr had ten points and seven rebounds. Leading the way for the Prairie Stars was Dylan Sparkman, who finished the game with 13 points and seven boards.
Freshman Egidijus Mockevicius made his first start and along with that, an immediate impact. The Lithuania native tallied four rebounds in the opening three minutes as UE jumped out to the early lead.
Illinois-Springfield held leads of 4-3 and 5-4 before Evansville went on a 14-0 run. The Aces did a great job of spreading the ball around in the run as six players recorded a bucket. UIS fought back with an 8-2 stretch before a Jahr trey helped UE retake a double figure edge. Helping the Aces in the opening ten minutes was rebounding as they led UIS by an 18-6 margin at that point.
The lead hovered around 10 points over the remainder of the period before UE went to halftime up 40-27. Troy Taylor led the Aces with eight points in the half while the Prairie Stars were led by Jamall Millson's nine.
After UIS scored the first basket of the second half, Evansville bounced back with a 10-0 run as Cox registered four points. The lead hit 20 on a Lewis Jones jumper during the run and kept going up from there. Inside of eight minutes remaining, David Howard scored his first bucket to make it a 30-point game at 69-39 before the Aces finished up with the 79-54 victory.
The Aces outrebounded UIS by a 49-28 margin while shooting 45.7%. Both teams had efficient free throw efforts as UE was 11-13 and UIS was 15-18. Troy Taylor led everyone with nine rebounds to go along with his eight points. Mockevicius finished with six points and six rebounds. Thirteen Evansville players scored in the game.
In just seven days, the season will officially get underway. Evansville travels to Notre Dame for the opener. Tip time will be announced this week as soon as a start time is announced for UND's football game at Boston College.