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Crosstown rivalry is back: UE, USI to play hoops exhibition in November

For the first time since 2012, the Evansville and Southern Indiana men’s basketball teams will play an exhibition game this fall.

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The University of Evansville men’s basketball coaching staff will have more opportunity to mix and match next season. Pat Hickey, pat.hickey@courierpress.com

For the first time since 2012, the Evansville and Southern Indiana men’s basketball teams will play an exhibition game this fall. The crosstown showdown is slated for Oct. 28 at Ford Center, according to the season-ticket renewal brochures that UE Athletics recently mailed out.

The Vectren Community Classic was an every-other-year series from 2004-08. The Purple Aces have won all four of the previous matchups, but there have been some close calls for the city’s Division I program. The D-II Screaming Eagles lost 77-75 in ’06 and forced double overtime in ’08 before UE pulled out a 71-67 win at Roberts Stadium.

The Aces won 73-55 in 2012 in front of an announced crowd of 7,358. Although attendance declined since the series began, it’s still expected to draw well given that the game hasn’t been played in seven years. In addition, UE is projected to be significantly improved from its 11-21 record during head coach Walter McCarty’s first season at the helm while USI is coming off its first Elite Eight appearance since 2004.

Southern Indiana’s Lawrence Thomas and Evansville’s Troy Taylor fight for a loose ball in the first half of an exhibition game at Ford Center in October 2012. (Photo: DANIEL R. PATMORE / SPECIAL TO THE COURIER & PRESS, Daniel R. Patmore)

Notably, the Aces will play IUPUI on Nov. 29 (the Friday after Thanksgiving) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. After a date with Kentucky in Lexington on Nov. 12, they will host IU-Kokomo, an NAIA program, Nov. 18 before heading down to play in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase from Nov. 22-24.

Depending on who the Aces schedule for the currently to-be-determined season opener Nov. 5, Kokomo is the only non-Division I team on the slate.

UE returns home to play Western Illinois on Dec. 4 and Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 7. It then hits the road for return games at Green Bay (Dec. 14) and Jacksonville State (Dec. 17) before Murray State comes into town for a rare Saturday night home game Dec. 21.

Pat Hickey is the UE beat reporter for the Courier & Press. Contact him by phone at (812) 464-6736, email at pmhickey@gannett.com or follow along on Twitter @patmhickey.

Post time: Jun-10-2019

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