CHICAGO (WFIE) - Facing one of the top 30 teams in the nation on the road, the University of Evansville men’s basketball team fought to the final whistle in a 68-55 loss to Loyola on Saturday afternoon at Gentile Arena.
Evansville (8-9. 6-5 MVC) played hard throughout the entire game before a game-changing stretch by Loyola (16-3, 11-1 MVC) saw them take a 16-point lead in the second half. The Purple Aces got back within single digits before the Ramblers hung on for the win.
“Loyola is such a versatile team; they are so good on both ends of the floor,” UE head coach Todd Lickliter said. “We knew it would be a great test and our guys have shown that they will always fight back. If we use it right, this challenge will help us in our pursuit to be a great team.”
Noah Frederking had an outstanding effort on Saturday, leading the Aces with 15 points. He was 6-for-10 from the field while knocking down three triples. Jawaun Newton scored nine while Shamar Givance and Iyen Enaruna registered seven apiece.
Making the first start of his career, Iyen Enaruna made an immediate impact. After winning the opening tip, Enaruna grabbed an offensive board and scored on the first possession. Shamar Givance added a 3-pointer that gave the Aces an early 5-2 advantage. With the Ramblers up 7-5, Evan Kuhlman came in and knocked down a triple. On the next possession, he found a cutting Noah Frederking for a field goal that put the Aces on top – 10-7.
A 9-2 stretch by the Ramblers put them back in front by a 16-12 tally before Trey Hall ended a 3-minute scoreless stretch with his first triple of the day. As the half approached the final five minutes, Hall and Frederking hit 3-pointers that cut Loyola’s lead to 22-21, but a 9-0 run by Loyola gave them their first double figure lead of the game at 31-21 at the 1:51 mark. UE cut one off that deficit to trail by a 36-27 margin at the half. Frederking led the Aces with eight points in the first half. Cameron Krutwig had 11 points and six rebounds through the first 20 minutes of play.
Five of Evansville’s first seven shots of the second half found the bottom of the net with UE getting back within three points – 38-35. After Loyola pushed its lead back to five at 44-39, they put forth their top stretch of the game, recording 13 of the next 15 points to stretch their advantage to 57-41 with 12:08 remaining. They converted seven consecutive field goals.
Evansville has gained a reputation around the Missouri Valley Conference for never giving up and today was no different. The defense clamped down to force five Rambler misses in a row while a triple by Samari Curtis spearheaded a 7-0 run to make it a 9-point game inside of the 8-minute mark.
Loyola’s lead hovered around the 10-point mark over the remainder of the game. UE got within single figures a few times, but Loyola kept answering before taking the win. Krutwig led the Ramblers with 10 points and 11 rebounds while going 8-for-13 from the field.
Tomorrow, the teams will be back in action inside Gentile Arena with another 1 p.m. contest.
Courtesy: UE Athletics