St. Louis, Mo – Round two of the Arch Madness 2016 Tournament would see #7 seed Missouri State Bears (13-18, 8-10) and #2 seed Evansville Purple Aces (23-8, 12-6). Mo State survived a near buzzer beater loss against Drake in the first round of the tournament. Now the Bears are matched up against a strong favorite in the Purple Aces who have handed the Bears two losses by a combined score of 159-123 in conference play.
16:24 First Half:
Evansville showed its speed early pushing quickly against a tired Bears team taking a 12-8 lead. However, the Bears held off an early rush thanks to Camyn Boone who scored all eight of the Bears offense at that point. Dequon Miller would eventually break the streak helping his team get to 10-points as they kept the game within a pair of buckets.
12:42 First Half:
Purple Aces NBA prospect Egidijus Mockevicius used his size to go 3-4 from the field while gathering already five-rebounds. He at the time accounted for all of Evansville’s rebounds.
8:24 First Half:
The Purple Aces go on a 7-1 run to open up a 9-point lead, 27-18. D.J. Balentine would be responsible in one fashion or another for each of those points, scoring five of them and assisting the others. If the Bears wanted to get back in the game, they’d have to find somebody other than Boone to score. He is responsible for half of the team’s offense.
4:56 First Half:
Somebody must not have told Camyn Boone he was going up against NBA prospect Mockevicius, he continued to drive through the Purple Aces center to get his team within six-points. 29-23 in favor of Evansville. Boone remains the only offense for his team with his 13-points.
Scoring has not come easy. Over 4 minutes have gone by and only Ryan Kreklow of Mo State had made a basket. In the final five minutes of the half. Score at the half 29-25 in favor of Evansville
Half time facts:
The Purple Aces is an interesting nickname for a team, so how did they get it? In 1924-25 season after Evansville College Pioneers beat Louisville, Louisville’s coach John Harmon claimed Dan Scism of Evansville of not having just four Aces up his sleeve, but five. Scism liked it, and kept the name. It also just so happened to be easier to fit on newspaper headlines than the Pioneers. It has often been voted one of the top 10 most unique (and sometimes worst) nicknames.
Of the 54-points scored at this point, 30-points were scored in the paint. No shock that Boone leads the Bears in scoring with 13-points. Boone and his counterpart Mockevicius have the most shot attempts for both teams.
Every player with a block also has a steal. (Bears-Obediah Church, Robin Thompson. Purple Aces-Blake Simmons, Egidiju Mockevicius)
16:15 Second Half:
Camyn Boone is playing the game of his life! He has 22-points! Single handedly tied the ball game up at 34-34 all!
13:42 Second Half:
D.J. Balentine puts an end to the comeback, he continues to carry Evansville with his 15-points.
10:22 Second Half:
Kreklow brings it within a basket when he hits a 3-pointer. Score now at 41-44 in favor of Evansville. With that Kreklow becomes the Bears second highest scorer at that time…with five. Boone is responsible for 24-points to lead the team.
6:40 Second Half:
D.J. Balentine yet again ends a run by hitting a huge bucket. He drains a 3-pointer to help separate the Purple Aces and Bears with a score of 51-45. Balentine has a team high 18-points. He scored nine of those in the first half.
5:32 Second Half:
Back breaking 3-pointer hit by none other than D.J. Balentine! 54-45 lead for the Purple Aces. The Bears are looking for answers late.
2:07 Second Half:
The final nail in the coffin as Mislav Brzoja of Evansville drills a 3-pointer to make it a ten-point game.
0:00 Full Time:
The Evansville Purple Aces advances with a win over the Missouri State Bears, 66-56. D.J. Balentine scored 21-points for the Purple Aces while Boone finishes for the Bears with a double-double, 26-points and 10-rebounds.
I was able to catch up with Boone and Mockevicius after the game.