Recap: Evansville vs. Illinois State
Evansville, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - D.J. Balentine poured in 38 points as the Evansville Purple Aces outlasted the Illinois State Redbirds for a 104-98 overtime victory in a Missouri Valley Conference thriller at the Ford Center.
Balentine also grabbed six rebounds and dealt out five assists for Evansville (11-15, 4-9 MVC), which led by 25 points in the second half. Egidijus Mockevicius added 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds before fouling out while Blake Simmons tallied 17 points and four assists. The Purple Aces had lost their previous four games.
Nick Zeisloft led the Redbirds (13-12, 6-7) with 18 points. Bobby Hunter provided 17 points, nine boards and six assists while Zach Lofton scored 16 points. Daishon Knight scored 15 points and Reggie Lynch chimed in with 12 points. Hunter, Lofton and Lynch were all disqualified with five personal fouls before the final buzzer as ISU dropped its second straight decision.
Evansville took a 54-33 lead into the intermission after it connected on 52.9 percent of its field goal attempts and converted 14-of-17 tries at the free- throw line in the opening period. The Redbirds made only 2-of-11 shots from behind the 3-point line in the first half.
The Purple Aces made seven of their 17 shots from the floor in the second stanza while the Redbirds made good on 50 percent of their field goal tries including a 9-of-19 clip from beyond the arc. ISU also sank 18-of-21 attempts at the charity stripe after the break. Evansville led, 74-49, with just under 12 minutes left in the second half, but the visitors used a 40-15 run to tie the score at 89 with 1:39 showing on the clock. Balentine made a free-throw attempt with 24 seconds left to push Evansville's lead back up to two, but Knight evened the score at 94 with a pair of makes at the charity stripe just moments later. Balentine missed a potential game-winning attempt from 3-point range on the Purple Aces' next possession.
Evansville allowed only two points over the final three minutes of the extra session and closed out the contest on a 6-0 run.
Both sides finished the game with 36 points in the paint and 20 second chance points.Game Notes