DES MOINES, IA (WFIE)
The University of Evansville men's basketball team fell by a final of 70-65 on Saturday at the Knapp Center.
D.J. Balentine was the top scorer for UE (16-6, 6-4 MVC), finishing with 17 points. He hit 3 3-pointers. Adam Wing notched 15. Reed Timmer was the top scorer for Drake, finishing with 18.
Defense was the story early on as Evansville was 1-for-7 to begin the game as Jaylon Moore hit a pair of free throws to open the game before Egidijus Mockevicius hit a nice hook shot. Freshman Reed Timmer hit the first two shots of the game for DU before Karl Madison gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the day at 6-4 five minutes into the contest.
Mockevicius halted the run with back-to-back buckets to tie the game up at 8-8. Gary Ricks Jr. connected on the first triple of the day for DU was his bucket gave the Bulldogs a 4-of-5 start from the floor and an 11-8 advantage. Their lead reached five points at 20-15 before the Aces were able to cut the gap to two at halftime, 29-27.
The Aces had a chance to retake the lead on a few occasions in the opening frame, but two missed front ends of a one-and-one saw the Bulldogs remain on top. Timmer registered 11 first-half points, hitting 4 out of 6 shots as Drake hit 55% (11/20) of their attempts in the opening period. Blake Simmons topped the Aces with seven tallies in the first 20 minutes.
Out of the half, Drake hit 3 of their first 4 shots to take their largest lead of the game at seven points (36-29). D.J. Balentine, who went 1-of-7 in the first half, came out firing in the second, hitting his first two shots. Adam Wing also lent a helping hand, scoring four-straight as the Aces got within one at 40-39 with 13 minutes left.
The run kept going for UE as Balentine gave the Aces their first lead since the 11:46 mark of the opening half. His layup saw UE go up 41-40 with just over 12 minutes remaining. That was part of a 14-1 stretch that saw Evansville open up its largest lead of the game at five points (49-44).
Drake responded with a 6-0 stretch as they hit 4 out of 5 attempts to go back on top 50-49 with just over five minutes left. Jacob Enevold hit back-to-back layups for the Bulldogs. They went back up by two points as Ricks hit his second trey of the game with four minutes left. That put DU up 53-51.
After Duane Gibson tied it up at 53-53, Drake posted the next seven points to go up 60-53 with 1:27 left. Evansville was unable to overcome that run as Drake held on for the victory.
UE continues to play on the road on Tuesday with a trip to Normal, Ill. to face Illinois State in a 7 p.m. matchup. Next Saturday, the Aces are back home to take on Bradley. Game time is set for 1:05 p.m. Call 812-488-ACES or visit the Carson Center or Ford Center ticket office to purchase seats for the game.