The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Sports

December 20, 2012

Anderson's Taylor ready for Hinkle homecoming

ANDERSON, Ind. — Troy Taylor’s last meeting with Kellen Dunham was memorable.

It was the 2009 sectional final at New Castle, and Dunham’s Pendleton Heights Arabians were rallying late in the third quarter against Taylor’s Anderson Indians.

The rally was brought to a sudden stop at the end of the period when Taylor launched what appeared to be a prayer from the opposite free-throw line and sank a 3-pointer to keep Anderson in front.

The Indians rolled in the fourth quarter, won 73-50 and followed up with two more victories to claim their first sectional title in six years.

On Saturday, Taylor — a senior guard at Evansville — and Dunham — a freshman guard at Butler — meet again.

This time around it’s at Indianapolis’ Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Taylor’s Purple Aces are the underdogs. The 19th-ranked Bulldogs upset then-No. 1 Indiana 88-86 in overtime last week at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, again raising their national profile.

But Evansville (7-4) has won the last two meetings between the state rivals — 80-77 in overtime last year at home and 71-68 in overtime at Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2010.

“Every year we’ve played them it’s a battle,” Taylor said. “I think we match up very well with them.”

Like Butler (8-2), the Aces think defense first.

The contest promises to be a methodical chess match between two highly disciplined teams. And Taylor could be one of the most unpredictable pieces on the board.

“He’s a really good player,” Dunham said. “He’s unique in that he crashes the boards pretty hard for a guard. He’s definitely a big part of our gameplan.”

After averaging 4.9 rebounds per game last year as a junior, the 6-foot Taylor leads Evansville with a 6.5 average this season.

He spent the first part of his freshman year begging head coach Marty Simmons to let him crash the glass. It’s something he was known for while winning three Herald Bulletin Player of the Year awards at Anderson, and he felt as though it was a way for him to make an immediate impact on the team.

Once Simmons relented, he agreed. And he’s been coaxing Taylor to hit the boards ever since.

The guard was so successful at it last season that Missouri Valley Conference foes began gameplanning against him.

“I’m the littlest guy on the court, and they’re sending two guys to block me out,” Taylor said. “It was actually pretty funny.”

Taylor’s senior season has flown by. The Butler game is Evansville’s last before beginning conference play, and it holds special meaning for the Anderson native.

He’ll have several friends and family members in attendance, and even his great-grandfather will be able to watch the game on TV. He’ll also get another chance to play at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

“I like the atmosphere there,” he said. “We know they always have a great crowd, and I’m excited to be that close to home. It’s going to be crazy playing there.”

Butler is well aware of the danger the Purple Aces present.

Copach Brad Stevens spoke to the team about not allowing a letdown after the emotional high against Indiana. He shared stories of what has happened to other teams after similar upsets and reminded the Bulldogs that Evansville would like nothing better to pull off a surprising win of its own.

“Coach Stevens told us we need to have a good week of practice and not let that happen at Hinkle Fieldhouse,” Dunham said.

Taylor said the Aces let a winnable game slip away in the season opener at Notre Dame, and they don’t want to repeat that mistake on Saturday.

A win would shine some of the national spotlight on Evansville, just as Butler’s upset of IU raised the Bulldogs’ profile last week.

“It opens our eyes to how good they are, beating a team like Indiana,” Taylor said. “But we’ve played a lot of these guys before. We know it’s going to be a game. We know it’s going to be a battle. There’s nothing easy about beating good teams.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Rick Bramwell: Improving weather should aid morels When I looked at my wilted daffodils Tuesday morning, I knew this would be a setback for morels. The long-range forecast through April 29 calls for near normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. This is good news for the blacks and grays.

    April 16, 2014

  • SPL - PT041014 - Ken de la Bastide column - Ken sig Ken de la Bastide: Hunter-Reay's blunder proves costly A lack of patience cost Ryan Hunter-Reay and teammate James Hinchcliffe a chance at victory last weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Long Beach.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0416 - tennis file - 14 Many girls tennis teams return top talent With spring sports getting off to a good start thanks to some spring-like weather last week, local girls tennis teams are taking to the court.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wild week will get later start The busiest week on Madison County's high school sports calendar is going to start a day later than expected.

    April 14, 2014

  • Familiar trio leads boys track teams Much like in years past, Anderson, Lapel and Pendleton Heights have assembled the largest number of track athletes of the area’s 11 high schools. And, while the remaining teams may struggle to compete from a team standpoint, they will send capable athletes to the line to challenge in individual events.

    April 14, 2014

  • New roles, same goals for Arabians

    Perhaps the most remarkable fact about the first 13 years of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament is that no team has repeated as champion.

    April 14, 2014

  • Track stars prepare for numbers game

    Track is a numbers game, not just with times and distances, but with roster sizes as well. Smaller schools often abandon the philosophy of competing for team titles when running against larger schools with nearly double the number of athletes. Instea

    April 14, 2014

  • SPT - HB0413 - Horseshoe Classic - 163 Arabians finish third in Horseshoe Classic It wasn't the place they wanted to be playing for, but the Pendleton Heights Arabians won their final game of the day to finish third in the Horseshoe Classic here Saturday.

    April 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • PH wins Yorktown invite Pendleton Heights and Alexandria opened the 2014 golf season as part of the 15-team field at the Yorktown Invitational. Despite the abundance of blue skies and sunshine, the weather may have been more of a challenge than the 18 holes at The Players Club.

    April 12, 2014

  • New faces dominate Tribe's roster At some point in the very near future — likely Monday — Anderson baseball coach Terry Turner will sit down with his players and explain the significance of the week ahead. He'll tell them who Nick Muller was and why he worked so very hard 14 years ago to help create a tournament that carries the former Indian's name.

    April 12, 2014