PEORIA, IL. (WFIE) - Trailing by 14 points in the second half, the University of Evansville men’s basketball team went on a 16-2 run to tie it up before a late Bradley run lifted them to a 69-58 win on Sunday afternoon inside Carver Arena.
Four UE (9-16, 0-12 MVC) players reached double figures, led by Evan Kuhlman’s 13 points. He added a career-high of nine rebounds and has recorded at least four caroms in each of the last six games. John Hall scored 12 points while hitting a pair of 3-pointers. Jawaun Newton added 11 tallies while K.J. Riley scored 10. For Newton – it was his third double figure scoring game in the last five outings.
“I thought we kept playing throughout the entire possession. There were a few times that they got pretty good looks, but we stayed in position and grabbed the rebound on their misses,” Aces head coach Todd Lickliter said after the game. “Bradley has some really good weapons and are a nice team. There are a lot of things you have to cover with them. Our guys were doing enough to hang in there.”
“I continue to be very proud of our guys, they are doing everything that we ask of them. We are getting very close and I know our hard work will pay off.”
An and-one by K.J. Riley and a 3-pointer from John Hall got the Aces started with a 6-2 lead. At the 4-minute mark, Bradley (16-9, 7-5 MVC) tied it up at 8-8 for the first time before taking their first lead of 10-8 a minute later. Riley added a triple of his own to give his team a 13-12 lead seven minutes into the game.
Bradley clamped down at that point, keeping the Aces scoreless for a span of five minutes, limiting UE to 0-for-3 shooting and three turnovers. The Braves scored eight in a row to open up a 20-13 advantage.
The run for the Braves continued as they added eight more points, outscoring Evansville by a total mark of 16-2 over nine minutes of action to take their largest lead of the half at 28-15 with 4:37 left in the half. The Aces quickly clawed back with Noah Frederking nailing his first triple to make it a 10-point game.
Evan Kuhlman added a pair of free throws before Frederking was true from outside again, getting his team within five – 28-23 – inside of two minutes remaining. A Ja’Shon Henry dunk ended the stretch, but Jawaun Newton connected on another Aces triple to make it a 4-point game with 1:26 on the clock. Bradley scored the final four points of the period to hold a 34-26 halftime lead.
With 16:18 remaining in the contest, Darrell Brown hit a jumper that pushed the lead to a game-high 14 points (44-30). Once again, Evansville did not relent with Kuhlman accounting for seven points in an 11-2 rally that got UE within five at the 13-minute mark, forcing a Bradley time out. Despite the stoppage, the Aces continued their rally with John Hall hitting another shot from downtown before Newton posted a layup to tie the game at 46-46 with 11 minutes on the clock.
A 16-run game-tying run by UE was countered by a 5-0 stretch from the Braves. Sam Cunliffe got on the board with consecutive scores for UE. His second one was a slam dunk on a nice feed from Shamar Givance. Riley would tie it up at 52-52 with under seven minutes left. The defense for Evansville kept Bradley scoreless for a stretch of nearly four minutes before a free throw put the Braves on top as the four-minute mark approached.
Newton put the Aces on top with his 11th point of the day, finding a spot in the middle of a zone defense that gave UE a 54-53 edge, its first lead since 13-12. It did not last long with the Braves converting a 3-point play on the ensuing trip down the floor. It was the start of a 12-0 stretch that gave them a 65-54 lead with under two minutes remaining. They finished the day with the 69-58 win.
Darrell Brown was the leading scorer for the Braves, finishing with 22 while Elijah Childs added 19 points and 11 boards. The Braves shot 49% from the field in the game with the Aces hitting 39.7% of their tries.
Loyola is up next for UE with the teams set to square off on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Ford Center.