EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) -Shamar Givance went coast-to-coast and converted a 3-point play with one second remaining in overtime to give the University of Evansville men’s basketball team a 66-63 victory over Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday night at the Ford Center.
On a night where he scored a career-best 20 points, Givance’s heroics sealed the second win in a row for the Purple Aces (2-3). He was 7-of-13 from the field and hit six free throws while being credited with five assists. SEMO (2-3) tied the game with a basket with eight seconds remaining before Givance took the ball the length of the floor on his way to hitting the layup and drawing the foul.
“I gained the confidence that I needed from my teammates and am happy to hit that layup,” Givance explained after the game. “We are beginning to have a better understanding of what makes our team better. Day-by-day we are getting better and better as a team.”
Jawaun Newton followed up a career game against Eastern Illinois with a 15-point effort against the Redhawks. He hit three triples and all four free throws. Even more impressive – he drew a total of nine fouls.
“We just have to assume that we are going to play close games and realize that every possession matters,” UE head coach Todd Lickliter said. “We had contributions from everybody and that is exciting. On any given night, it could be one guy or the other and I think that is a good sign.”
The first five points of the night belonged to Evansville as Jawaun Newton connected on a triple in the first possession, but as the opening four minutes were completed, SEMO reeled off six in a row to take their first lead of the game at 6-5 on a triple by Nana Akenten. Newton put the Aces back in the lead with a pair of free throws before a 7-0 Redhawk rally gave them a 13-7 edge at the 13:33 mark. Akenten added his second long ball of the game.
Evansville used its defense to go back in front. Over the next six minutes, the Aces held the Redhawks to 1-for-9 from the field with four turnovers. Samari Curtis made his Evansville debut and recorded his first points at the free throw line while Iyen Enaruna added back-to-back buckets in a 10-3 run that put UE back in front at 17-16 just past the midway point of the half.
SEMO went back up by as many as six (23-17) before the Aces came back to tie it up at 24-24 in the final minute on a pair of Enaruna free throws. The Redhawks took a 26-24 edge at the break thanks to a Nate Johnson putback in the final seconds. Newton led all players with eight tallies in the first half.
As the second half got underway, the competitive action continued. SEMO pushed its lead to four on multiple occasions, but the Aces answered back. Triples by Evan Kuhlman and Noah Frederking coupled with a 3-point play by Enaruna kept the Aces right in the contest. With the game entering the final 10 minutes, the hard work by UE paid off. Trailing 42-39, Givance scored his fourth basket of the game before UE retook the lead on Newton’s third 3-pointer of the night with 9:24 remaining.
Givance connected once again to push the lead to 46-42 before the Redhawks scored eight in a row to assume a 50-46 advantage with 5:30 on the clock. Evansville continued to show its resilience. SEMO pushed the lead to 54-48 entering the final three minutes before the Aces quickly tied it up. Newton found Frederking for a triple in the corner before an and-one by Givance tied it up. It was Newton contributing once again with two huge free throw makes with 21 seconds left that helped to send the game to overtime at 56-56.
Senior Evan Kuhlman drilled a three on the pass from Givance to open the scoring in overtime before Givance hit a basket to make it a 61-58 game. With 44 ticks remaining, a Frederking free throw put the lead at four. The Redhawks never gave up, tying the game on a Chris Harris jumper with eight seconds left in the extra period. That was just enough time for the Aces to counter. Givance took the inbound pass to the other end where he connected on his seventh basket of the night while drawing contact where he would hit the ensuing free throw to put Evansville on top. A last-second heave from half court fell short, sealing the second UE win in a row.
Noah Frederking was Evansville’s third double-digit scorer, finishing with 11 while Junior Iyen Enaruna had his best performance in an Aces uniform. He recorded nine points and six rebounds. His point total was a career-high while the six caroms tied his top effort against Prairie View A&M.
“My game plan was to come in, play hard and bring the energy. I wanted to earn that trust from the coaching staff,” Enaruna exclaimed. “We are still very hungry but it is good to move forward with back-to-back wins. That makes us even more motivated.”
Sophomore Samari Curtis made his UE debut on Tuesday. The Nebraska transfer finished with two points and three rebounds in just under 12 minutes of work.
SEMO had three players score in double figures, led by Eric Reed Jr.’s 16 points. Nana Akenten had 14 while Nolan Taylor posted 13 tallies and 9 boards. The Redhawks finished with a 41-32 edge on the boards and a 41.8%-38.9% shooting edge, but the difference came at the line where UE went 16-for-22 on the night. Evansville also forced 16 turnovers while committing just nine of their own.
Non-conference play is set to wrap up on Monday, December 21 when Belmont comes to the Ford Center for a 6 p.m. game.
Courtesy: UE Athletics