EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Just a day after University of Evansville senior Evan Kuhlman had his best performance in a Purple Aces uniform, junior Shamar Givance did the same as the UE men’s basketball team earned a weekend sweep over UNI with a 70-64 win on Sunday at the Ford Center.
Givance scored 22 points in an extremely efficient game that saw him go 6-of-9 from the field, 3-for-4 from long range and 7-of-8 from the line. It surpassed his previous mark of 20 points, which came against Southeast Missouri State on December 15, 2020. As a team, the Aces earned their third Missouri Valley Conference win in a row. The last 3-game win streak in league play came during the 2017-18 season when UE earned a road win at Valparaiso before defeating Drake and UNI at home.
A day after recording his career-high, Kuhlman scored 14 on a 5-of-9 day from the field. Included in that total was a 4-for-6 effort from outside. Jawaun Newton scored 11 points while adding a career-high of five assists. Newton along with Samari Curtis led the way with six rebounds.
“The thing that is most gratifying is that I feel like we have responded to different challenges. Today, we had a lead and they cut into it and we were able to sustain enough to stay ahead,” Aces head coach Todd Lickliter said. “For us to build a lead, maintain our poise and finish is very rewarding.”
After hitting its first field goal of the game to take a 2-0 lead, UNI hit one of its next 12 attempts as the Aces jumped out to a 13-5 lead just over eight minutes into the game. A pair of Shamar Givance free throws gave UE its first lead at 4-2 before triples from Givance, Samari Curtis and Noah Frederking extended the advantage to 13-5. Evansville hit three of its first seven from outside.
Austin Phyfe ended the drought for the Panthers and started what would be an 8-0 lead that would tie the game up at the 9-minute mark. With 6:54 remaining in the period, a trey from Bowen Born put UNI back in front by a 20-18 margin. That is when Evansville responded with another nice run, reeling off 14 in a row to take its largest lead of the day at 32-20.
Givance drilled his second long ball of the day to begin the run before Jawaun Newton grabbed a steal on the defensive end and took the runout the distance of the floor to score. Following another basket by Givance, Jax Levitch got in on the scoring, hitting his first outside shot of the day to make it a 10-0 run. UE completed the run with field goals from Curtis and Iyen Enaruna. The defense held the Panthers to 0-for-4 shooting while forcing three turnovers in a scoreless stretch of 5:12.
UNI ended the stretch with a Trae Berhow triple, but the defense helped the Aces head to halftime with a 35-25 lead. Givance led all players with 11 first-half points.
Evansville added to its lead in the opening moments of the second half. It was Shamar Givance taking advantage of a UNI technical foul. After hitting both free throws from the foul, Givance connected on his third 3-pointer to extend the lead to 16 points – 45-29 – with 13:35 remaining in the contest.
As the minutes wound down, the Panthers clawed their way back. The lead was cut back to single digits (50-41) with 8:46 remaining and got within a possession inside of four minutes remaining when a 9-0 stretch made it a 58-55 game in favor of Evansville.
That is when Kuhlman came up big for the Aces. The senior hit back-to-back triples, both on the feed from Newton, to counter consecutive triples from Trae Berhow of UNI. Those triples proved to be some of the biggest shots of the day as the Panthers would not get within a possession again with Evansville finishing with the 70-64 victory.
Phyfe was the leader for the Panthers with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Berhow posted 11. Evansville finished the day shooting 46.2% with UNI just behind at 43.9%. UNI had a 35-29 edge on the glass.
Up next for Evansville is a home series against Illinois State. The Aces and Redbirds meet up next Saturday and Sunday (January 9-10) inside the Ford Center. Both games will begin at 1 p.m.
Courtesy: UE Athletics