TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WFIE) -Sam Cunliffe was once again the leading scorer for the University of Evansville men’s basketball team, posting 12 points on Wednesday evening as the Purple Aces fell to Indiana State by a final of 65-42 inside the Hulman Center.
Cunliffe was 5-of-7 from the field and hit both 3-point tries in the game. Artur Labinowicz finished with nine points, connected on four buckets. Jawaun Newton was the top rebounder for Evansville (9-9, 0-5 MVC), setting his career mark with seven. Five of the seven came on the offensive end.
Tyreke Key was the top performer for the Sycamores (10-6, 3-2 MVC), registering 13 points while hitting five out of six free throws. Cooper Neese scored 12 points.
“It is not a ton of mistakes in the whole game that hurt us, it is pockets of mistakes,” UE interim head coach Bennie Seltzer said. “We went from being down 9 to 15. We are right there except for the runs we are giving up. Everybody has to be dedicated to making this right.”
In the early moments of the game, it was the Purple Aces who had the upper hand, knocking down three of its first four attempts to take a 6-2 lead just over three minutes in. Sam Cunliffe added his third basket of the game to push the lead to 8-5 a minute later.
Indiana State responded with a 12-0 stretch, taking their first lead at 9-8 at the 14:22 mark. The Sycamores held the Aces scoreless for a period of 7:11 with the UE offense missing eight shots in a row and turning it over three times. Cunliffe knocked down a pull up triple to end the stretch with the Aces scoring four in a row.
The Aces stayed within two possessions with the second triple of the night for Cunliffe cutting the gap to 24-19 with 4:11 remaining in the half. That is when Indiana State had its second big rally of the period, reeling off ten points in a row to finish the half as they took a 34-19 lead at the break.
Their rally continued at the start of the second half with ISU starting on a 9-2 run in the opening three minutes as they pushed their lead to a game-high 22 points (43-21). Facing the deficit, the Aces showed their grit, pushing back to score the next 13 points. A triple by John Hall got it started before Jawaun Newton had an and-one to cut the deficit to 16.
Evansville was just getting started as 3-pointers by Noah Frederking and Artur Labinowicz finished off the run with UE getting back within single figures at 43-34. The Aces defense was the story – holding the Sycamores scoreless for 5:36 with them missing nine shots in a row while turning it over on two occasions.
That is as close as the Sycamores would let the Aces get as they outscored UE by a 22-8 margin to close out a 65-42 victory. ISU shot 45.8% in the win with Evansville checking in at 30.4%. The rebounding tally also went the Sycamores way by a final of 43-33.
Following its 2-game road swing, the Aces return to the Ford Center for the next two games, beginning on Saturday with a 1 p.m. match up against Missouri State.
Courtesy: UE Athletics