EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) -- Matt Webster scored five of his 21 points in the Evansville's decisive run to open the second half as Purple Aces beat Illinois State 69-41 Saturday in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams.
Evansville led by a single point at halftime but outscored the Redbirds 28-4 to take a 56-31 lead on Shy Ely's jumper with 9:51 left in the game. The Aces built their lead to as many as 33 points, 66-33, on Bradley Strickland's layup with 4:34 remaining.
Strickland finished with 12 points and five rebounds for the Aces (6-3, 1-0).
Illinois State shot 27 percent (14-for-52) for the game, including just 5-for-22 in the second half. Evanville shot 60 percent in the second half (15-for-25).
Dominitrix Johnson led the Redbirds (6-3, 0-1) with 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Osiris Eldridge added nine points and seven rebounds for Illinois State.
Evansville outscored Illinois State 26-14 in the paint but was outrebounded 36-32. Illinois State committed 17 turnovers which Evansville turned into 13 points.