(Photo Credit: Mick Lite)
The final game of the semi-finals for the Arch Madness tournament saw #2 seed Evansville Purple Aces (24-8, 12-6), take on a Cinderella team in the #6 seed Indiana State Sycamores (15-16, 8-10). Indiana State won the night before against Illinois State by a score of 65-57. While Evansville topped Missouri State 66-56. Both these teams entered the game 3-1 on a neutral court this season.
15:11 First Half:
Both teams look even to begin the contest, however Evansville are finding scorers across the board with a basket made by all five starters, including a trio of 3-pointers to help take a 13-6 lead. Indiana State Brandon Murphy is giving his team as many second chances as he can with three early rebounds.
11:36 First Half:
Indiana State trying to pull within a few baskets but are struggling down low on defense. A 3-pointer from Matt Van Scyoc gets them within six-points. 11-17 Evansville leads. Interesting move on Evansville so far keeping star player Egidijus Mockevicius on the bench for an extended time.
10:19 First Half:
Evansville continues to be hot from downtown! 4-8 from deep giving them a 20-13 lead over Indiana State. Blake Simmons has hit both of his 3-pointers so far to lead his team early in scoring.
7:39 First Half:
Mislav Brzoja of Evansville joins the 3-point party. Team is now 5-9 from deep and open up their first ten-point lead. 25-15.
5:35 First Half:
Mockevicius with the block! Jaylon Brown quickly takes it the other way and scores a basket. The route seemed to be on with Evansville taking a 31-17 lead with just minutes to go in the half.
2:00 First Half:
Evansville continues to dominate the rebound department. Every single player that has entered the game as at least one rebound. They have a 22-13 advantage in that department. 35-20 in favor of Evansville.
So far the Cinderella dreams of Indiana State are fading as Evansville keeps hitting 3-pointers and outrebounding the Sycamores. They keep their 15-point lead going into halftime, 37-22.
Previously we explained the Purple Aces mascot, however today another unique mascot is here with the Indiana State Sycamores. The school’s original mascot was the Fighting Teachers since it was a teachers school. The vote to change it to the Sycamores came later when the students voted on it. The school did use a tree as the mascot (much like Stanford) but then changed it to Chief Quabachi and his female counterpart, Princess. In 1989 that was dropped due to objections of using a Native American as a mascot. In 1995, its current mascot Sycamore Sam was born, a furry woodland creature is what he was designed to look like.
The Missouri Valley Conference has been won by many teams over its long history, however Evansville is not one of them. They had only won the regular season title once, that was 1999.
Evansville hit more 3-pointers in the first half alone in their semi-final game than all three other semi-finalists that played (Indiana State, Northern Iowa and Wichita State) did combined! Evansville went 5-10, the other three combined 4-27 in the first half of their games.
18:14 Second Half:
Evansville Opens up its biggest lead of the game by taking a 19-point lead over Indiana State.
14:37 Second Half:
A pair of free throws by D. J. Balentine gives the Purple Aces a 20-point lead. He also leads his team is scoring with 14-points. He and Indiana State’s Devonte Brown both have that point total at that time.
11:48 Second Half:
Now three Evansville players are in double-digits in scoring. Balentine (14), Brown (11) and Simmons (11). 56-32 as Evansville continues to cruise to the finals. Meanwhile Evansville second best scorer and best rebounder Mockevicius has just two-points and has been M.I.A. most of the game.
6:00 Second Half:
Indiana State continues to struggle, they have a current five-minute long scoreless streak and are 2-14 on their last 16-shots. Evansville also is in a funk going only 1-9 on its most recent shots. Evansville however maintains its massive lead of 61-33.
2:07 Second Half:
Both teams are struggling to score still. Evansville is now 2-of-15 while Indiana State is 2-of-10 currently. 64-42 in favor on Evansville.
With ease Evansville moves on with a final score of 68-42 over Indiana State. The Cinderella dream is over for the Sycamores while Evansville now looks to face Northern Iowa Sunday, March 6th, at 1:00pm. The winner automatically gets into the NCAA March Madness Tournament 2016, the loser may be sent to the National Invitational Tournament 2016.