PEORIA, Ill. (WFIE) - Jawaun Newton and Gage Bobe recorded career scoring highs but their efforts were not enough to overcome a red-hot Bradley squad, who shot 61.4% and held off the University of Evansville men’s basketball team by a final of 69-60 on Saturday afternoon inside Carver Arena.
Just seven days ago, Newton matched his career scoring tally with 19 against Illinois State and bettered that mark by three today. He knocked down 9 of his 14 field goal attempts and went 4-for-6 from 3-point range for the Purple Aces (6-7, 4-3 MVC). Playing his top total of 26 minutes, Gage Bobe hit three triples on his way to nine points, which tied his 9-point effort against UT Martin in December.
“To our guys credit, we came out and fought hard today,” UE head coach Todd Lickliter said. “Our guys are putting us in position to play down to the wire in each game and try to get the win. Gage (Bobe) gave us some really good minutes and I really appreciate he and Devan (Straub). They epitomize what you should be as a teammate. Iyen (Enaruna) and Trey (Hall) also gave us some good minutes off the bench when we needed it.”
Evan Kuhlman got the Aces on the board with a triple that made it a 3-2 game before Noah Frederking hit his first from outside to knot the score at 6-6 at the 16-minte mark. Jawaun Newton, who led everyone with 13 players in the first half, converted Evansville’s third long ball of the day to put his team in front by a 12-9 margin.
Following a quick 5-0 run by the Braves (8-4, 2-1 MVC), it was Newton hitting another triple to give the Aces a 15-14 lead. That is when Bradley made its run, knocking down six of its next eight field goal attempts on the way to a 28-18 lead with 3:12 remaining in the half. The BU lead reached as many as 12 (30-18) before Evansville put forth a strong finish to trim the deficit to just seven points at the break. Gage Bobe and Newton each hit a late triple that cut the lead back into single digits with BU holding a 34-27 lead at the half. Bradley shot 60% in the period while holding the Aces to 39.1% from the field, but the UE defense forced 11 turnovers and turned those into 13 points.
Over the first 79 seconds of the final half, Bradley scored the opening five points to match their largest lead of 12. Frederking hit a runner before Jax Levitch nailed his first triple of the game. With 15:22 on the clock, it was Bobe draining his second from outside to finish off a 10-2 run that trimmed Bradley’s lead to just four – 41-37.
Four Bradley’s next five shots would find the bottom of the rim as their lead back up to eight points at 47-39. Midway through the second half, a Terry Nolan Jr. basket pushed the lead back up to 11 points at 53-42. Evansville never gave up continued to keep the pressure on. Levitch added two more triples that slashed the UE deficit to 54-49 with eight minutes remaining. With 4:11 on the clock, it was Frederking who made it a one-possession game when his second 3-pointer of the afternoon cut Bradley’s lead to 60-57.
On the ensuing possession, the Braves hit a pair of free throws and would fend off the Aces challenge, finishing with a 69-60 win. For the game – Bradley shot 61.4% with the Aces finishing at 37.7%. UE turned 16 Bradley turnovers into 16 points on the offensive end.
Elijah Childs led Bradley with 19 points and 8 rebounds. He hit 9 out of 11 attempts. Terry Nolan Jr. added 16 points and 5 caroms while Ville Tahvanainen chipped in 13.
The Aces and Braves will be right back on the floor tomorrow for another 3 p.m. game inside Carver Arena. ESPN3 and the Purple Aces Radio Network will have the broadcast.
Courtesy: UE Athletics