University of Evansville senior Colt Ryan broke the all-time UE scoring record with a 39-point effort against Canisius as the Purple Aces advanced to the final four of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament with an 84-83 victory on Tuesday evening at Koessler Athletic Center.
Entering the game with 2,228 points, Ryan hit 11 out of 22 shots while going 12-of-15 from the stripe en route to a season-high effort of 39 points. He eclipsed the record of 2,236, which was set by the great Larry Humes, who played for UE from 1963-66. With the win, the Aces won three in a row on the road for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
The Aces (21-14) overcame a 9-point halftime deficit as Ryan tallied 30 second-half points. Troy Taylor followed his career effort of 16 against EKU with 10 against the Golden Griffins.
"This is a very special accomplishment," Ryan said. "Mr. Humes set that mark in just three years of playing, so it is a credit to what he did in such a short time that makes this moment so special."
Coach Simmons followed that up with some comments of his own.
"He is a special guy, I have had the privilege of coaching him (Colt) for four years," head coach Marty Simmons said. "He has a great knowledge of the game that is as good as anyone I have been around."
Canisius got off to a quick 5-0 start as Isaac Sosa knocked down a trey after the Griffins hit the opening shot of the game. Ned Cox hit a pair of shots before Lewis Jones drained an 18-footer as the Aces got within a point at 13-12 with 11:38 remaining in the opening frame.
The Golden Griffins overcame that stretch to go on a 12-2 run of their own as Alshwan Hymes hit a pair of treys to give Canisius a 25-14 lead five minutes later as they connected on five out of eight shots in the stretch while UE made just one out of 12 attempts over that stretch.
Evansville inched back with a 9-1 stretch as the offense hit four out of five shots while holding Canisius without a bucket for five minutes as they cut the gap to 26-23. With 1:56 left in the half, they got even closer on one of the most historic shots in program history. Colt Ryan knocked down a trey that not only brought UE within two points, but it gave him the all-time scoring record at the university. The bucket marked his ninth points of the game, giving him 2,237 for his career, one ahead of Larry Humes in a record that has stood for 47 years.
After the Aces worked hard to get back into the game, Canisius scored six in a row in a span of 20 seconds as they extended their lead to nine points going into halftime. The dagger came at the buzzer as Reggie Groves hit a three to make it a 37-28 game.
Shooting was the primary disparity at the half as UE hit just 11 out of 31 attempts (35.5%) while Canisius was 14-of-28. The Griffs also held a 21-15 rebounding edge at the break.
As much as the offense struggled in the first half, they did a full 180 in the second stanza, starting the period 5-of-6 from the floor in a 14-4 run that saw UE takes its first lead of the game at 42-41 just over four minutes in. Troy Taylor and Egidijus Mockevicius were the spark plugs as Mockevicius registered five quick points while Taylor stole the ball three times in the opening minutes of the half.
Two lead changes would ensue before Canisius would retake and begin to extend their lead. An and-one by Christ Manhertz with 9:34 left gave them a 60-53 lead after they hit six out of nine shots in the stretch as they retook the lead.
With the season on the line, Evansville made its way back as D.J. Balentine hit his first three-pointer of the night to bring the Aces within two before Ryan hit a pair of free throws to knot the game at 65-65 with just under six minutes remaining in the contest. That momentum was short-lived as Billy Baron came back with a 4-0 run of his own, which included a long three, but Ryan shot the Aces right back in it scoring 14 points in a row as UE outscored Canisius by a 14-2 margin to take its largest lead of the game at 79-71.
Canisius made its way back within three at 81-78 in the final minutes on an Isaac Sosa three before Ryan countered with two free throws with 14 seconds left and sealed the game with another two from the stripe in the final seconds. Baron hit a trey at the buzzer, but the game was out of reach as UE won, 84-83
The rebounding battle was tied at 32 while Canisius shot 53.4% and UE was 47.5%. Taylor had a strong effort aside from his scoring, posting 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Baron was the leading score for the Griffs with 21.