EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) -Bradley scored the first nine points of the game and would never give up the lead, defeating the University of Evansville men’s basketball team by a final of 72-52 on Wednesday night at the Ford Center.
K.J. Riley led the Purple Aces (9-7, 0-3 MVC) with 12 points. He was 8-for-10 from the free throw line 20 out of 24 attempts from the stripe over the last two games. Freshman Marcus Henderson recorded a career-high nine points in the game. He hit a pair of triples while eclipsing his previous scoring mark of six points, which he set on two occasions. John Hall finished the night with nine points.
“I thought midway through the second half, our energy was where it was supposed to be. We made a few mental mistakes early on and had some miscues,” UE interim coach Bennie Seltzer said. “Bradley is too good of a team to spot 10 points early on. We did that and had an uphill battle the rest of the way. It all comes down to how hard we play and how well we defend.”
Leading the Braves (11-5, 2-1 MVC) was Nate Kennell, who had team highs with 17 points and 10 boards. Darrell Brown scored 16.
Bradley set the tone early on, scoring the first nine points of the game. Evansville missed its first five attempts while turning it over once before Noah Frederking got UE on the board with a 3-pointer. After the Braves pushed their lead to 16-5, the Aces got back on the board with a pair of Jawaun Newton free throws with Riley adding one of his own.
The lead for Bradley continued to hover around double figures before the final minute when they added the final five points of the half to go into the break leading 34-19. Nate Kennell had 13 points in the half while no Evansville player had more than three points.
Over the opening minutes of the second period, the Braves added to the lead, going up by 25 points at 52-27. Trailing 55-31 with 11 minutes remaining, the Aces did their best to come back. UE recorded 11 points in a row while cutting the deficit to 12 points with six minutes left.
A Riley free throw got it started before Henderson drained a triple. Riley added three more free throws before Sam Cunliffe finished it off with his second long ball of the night, making it a 55-42 game. Evansville’s defense buckled down, keeping Bradley off the board for a span of six minutes while holding them to nine consecutive missed shots.
After UE got within 13, the Braves regrouped and pushed their lead back to 20, finishing with the 72-52 win.
Bradley shot 41.4% for the game with Evansville finishing at 33.3%. The Braves grabbed 48 rebounds on the night while limiting the Aces to 30.
Evansville will look to regain its edge on Saturday when it travels to Loyola for a 3 p.m. game.
Text Courtesy: UE Athletics