Balentine's 32 Leads Aces to Overtime Win - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Balentine's 32 Leads Aces to Overtime Win

MURRAY, KY (WFIE) -

Seniors D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius combined to score 54 points as the University of Evansville men’s basketball team defeated Murray State by a final of 85-81 in overtime at the CFSB Center.  For Evansville (7-1), it marked their first win over Murray State (5-4) since 1991.  It also ended an 18-game home win streak for the Racers.  Balentine led the way with a game-high 32 points for UE while Mockevicius recorded 22 points to go along with 12 rebounds.  As a team, Evansville shot 56.1% while holding the Racers to 50.9%.  Leading MSU was Bryce Jones, who totaled 21 points and 7 rebounds to lead his squad.  Murray State got off to a blazing hot start, hitting 9 of their first 11 shots of the night.  D.J. Balentine notched six early points to make it an 8-8 game.  After that, the Racers scored 13 in a row, taking a 21-8 lead.  The experienced Aces squad came back to score 10 in a row to trail by only three, but the Racers had the answer once again.  Shooting 63% in the opening half of play, Murray State pushed the lead back out to 11 at 33-22 before Evansville fought back again to trail by just three at the half.  Jaylon Brown and Egidijus Mockevicius had a hand in the rally as each finished the half with 8 points.  Spurring MSU’s string first half performance was an 8-for-12 effort from outside the arc.  Out of the break, the Aces roared back.  Just five minutes into the half, Adam Wing got UE within two before a put-back by Mockevicius tied it up at 50-50.  After several chances to take their first lead of the game, Mislav Brzoja finally helped the Aces do it with under 12 minutes remaining.  He put the Aces on top 55-53.  Evansville added to the lead, going up as many as five at 59-54 midway through the latter half.  Murray State made the edge disappear as Gee Mcghee nailed his third trey of the game to tie it up at 59-59.  Four-consecutive turnovers by the Aces helped the Racers go back on top at 61-59.  As the minutes dwindled down, Evansville retook the lead thanks to a 12-5 stretch to lead 71-66 with three minutes left.  Murray State used an and-one and another make to battle back to tie it up at 71-71.  On the ensuing play, Balentine hit a pair of free throws to put UE back on top at 73-71, but Bryce Jones hit two of his own to send the game to overtime.  UE got on the board first in the extra period as Balentine scored his 29th point of the evening.  Just a minute later, Jones gave the Racers their first lead since the halfway point of the second half as his free throws put MSU back up 77-76 with under three minutes left.  The back-and-forth play continued as Jaylon Brown knocked down two free throws to put the Aces back in the lead before Balentine drained his 12th bucket to give the Aces an 80-79 lead with just over a minute remaining in the extra session.  After forcing a miss, Brzoja scored off of a Balentine feed to make it an 82-79 game.  A free throw by Balentine gave the Aces an 83-79 advantage in the final minute.  From there, the Aces would hold on for the 85-81 win.  A trip to Arkansas is next for the Aces as they will play the University of Arkansas beginning at 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening.

Courtesy:  UE Sports Information Dept.  Copyright 2015, WFIE, All rights reserved.

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