Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UE Entering Tourney with Confidence ; Aces to Carry Momentum into Duel with Drake

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UE Entering Tourney with Confidence ; Aces to Carry Momentum into Duel with Drake

Article excerpt

The University of Evansville men's basketball team is heading into the postseason on a win streak. That's a good sign. The negative? It's just a two-game win streak.

Aside from the hot 5-0 start, the Aces have struggled all season to string together wins and build confidence. Three-and four-game losing streaks have created doubt and resulted in a lack of poise at the end of games as the UE players rode an emotional roller coaster through most of the conference slate.

That's not the case heading into the Missouri Valley Tournament - the Aces (13-18, 6-12 MVC) are playing with as much confidence as they had during their early season run of success.

"We really needed this momentum going into (the tournament)," said freshman forward Blake Simmons. "We had a bit of a rough stretch there, but we got the Drake win and the Loyola win. We feel like we're playing good, but we have to keep that going into the tournament. We just have to come out with the same aggression and attitude like we have the past two games."

They'll need that as they face Drake (15-15 overall, 6-12 MVC) in the first game of Arch Madness, slated for 6:08 p.m. Thursday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. One encouraging sigh is that Marty Simmons' squad didn't relinquish big leads in the past two games.

"We try to do that every night out," said the UE head coach. "That's the emphasis, get out to a great start the first four minutes. We'll try to organize an offensive and defensive game plan that'll give us a good start, but a lot of that just comes down to really being ready to play. Hopefully we'll be ready to come out and play the first four (minutes) and finish out the last 36 strong."

That was the case against Drake nine days ago, especially in the second half. The Aces opened up a 13-point lead midway through the final period and Drake didn't have the energy to fight back. …

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