EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Year two of Walter McCarty era got off to a wild start as the Ace’s Men’s Basketball team held on for an exciting 79-75 win over Ball State.
DeAndre Williams led the way with 26 points, with 15 of those coming in the first half as UE went up to a 40-18 lead.
They increased that lead to 25 in the early second half, but then the Cardinals got hot, sinking eight three-pointers to trim the Aces’ lead to one.
However, Evansville showed a lot of guts as they made some clutch shots and free throws down the stretch and came up with a couple big defensive stops to secure their first win of the season.
“Their team came out, came out in the second half and played harder than we did,” said McCarty. “We got a little loose and that’s what happens, teams come back. We have to be engaged and connected for 40 minutes, I think we were probably connected tonight for 24-26 minutes. When we’re connected, we’re pretty damn good. First half we were moving the ball, trusting each other, we were communicating on defense, we were playing hard. Second half we were playing to score. Our guys were looking at the score and now everybody’s trying to get their points. We have to be better than that. Unfortunately, we have to go through these little mishaps and tough moments.”
“We played well for 20 minutes," said K.J. Riley, senior guard." Felt like second half we just took our foot off the pedal. The game is 40 minutes. You don’t win the first half, so we have to close games to be a great team.”
The Aces will now gear up for their most challenging game of the early season: a trip to face the number two team in the country, the Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday at 6 p.m.