June 18, 2008
Year three of Vectren Community Classic set for November 1
Game three of the city of Evansville's most popular basketball match-up is set. The third Vectren Community Classic, an exhibition game featuring the University of Evansville against the University of Southern Indiana, will take place November 1 at Roberts Stadium. In addition to Vectren, the game is sponsored by Kenny Kent Toyota Lexus Scion.
This will be the first exhibition game of the season for both Marty Simmons' Purple Aces and Rick Herdes' Screaming Eagles. Evansville is 2-0 in the series, although both games have been very competitive. The Aces won 88-75 in 2004 in front of a crowd of 12,441. The most recent game took place in 2006, with the Aces squeaking out a 77-75 victory in front of 11,597 fans.
Season ticket holders will receive information later this summer regarding seating, and tickets will go on sale to the public early in the fall.
Simmons has the top five scorers returning from a team that finished 9-21 overall and 3-15 in the Missouri Valley Conference in his first year as head coach. Forward Shy Ely (14.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg) was chosen honorable mention all-MVC and was chosen for the five-man MVC Most Improved Team. Guard Jason Holsinger (12.3 ppg, 4.6 apg) ranked among the MVC's top 10 in three-point shooting and assists, and Pieter van Tongeren (5.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg) made the MVC All-Freshman Team.
Herdes and the Screaming Eagles are looking to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2007-08 that saw the team's record dip to 15-12 overall and 9-10 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. USI is led by junior forward Anthony Pimble (11.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg), the Eagles' top returning scorer, and senior guard Kenny Love (7.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg in 2006-07), who missed all of last season with a knee injury. The Eagles will have an entirely new look this season with eight newcomers on the roster.
Matt Webster and Lucious Wagner scored 17 points each for victorious UE in the 2004 game, while Cris Brunson (15), David Bryant (14) and Chris Thompson (14) led the way for the Eagles. Evansville broke away in the final 10 minutes, extending a 57-54 lead with 10:23 remaining to 78-63 four minutes later. In the 2006 game, a back-and-forth second half finally went UE's way. Down 45-35 at halftime, USI took a six-point lead at 61-55 with 9:27 to play. The Aces then mounted their own comeback, taking the lead for good at 70-68 in the final four minutes and extending the margin to six on two occasions before the Eagles scored six of the game's final eight points. Bradley Strickland scored 18 points and Webster added 17 for Evansville. Rashard Sullivan led USI with 15, Kenny Page added 14 points and Love scored 12.