Strawbridge, Jr.’s 25 points not enough, as Aces men fall to Fairfield
SAVANNAH, GA. (WFIE) - Kenny Strawbridge Jr. scored a game-high 25 points to lead all players in Sunday’s finale of the Hostilo Hoops Community Classic at Enmarket Arena. Up by nine in the second half, the University of Evansville men’s basketball team fell to Fairfield by a final of 63-56.
UE’s leading scorer finished the night hitting 11 of his 18 attempts. Yacine Toumi posted 13 points and four boards. Marvin Coleman paced the Purple Aces with 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. Caleb Fields led the Stags with 21 points and a 10-for-12 free throw performance.
Hitting their first four attempts, Fairfield took a 10-6 lead in the opening four minutes. Yacine Toumi had the first four points of the game for UE before Kenny Strawbridge Jr. got on the board. His triple cut the deficit to one (10-9) before his third field goal of the game gave Evansville an 11-10 lead.
Antoine Smith Jr. hit a triple to cap off an 8-0 run that put the Aces up 14-10 at the 13:41 mark. Over the next six minutes, the Stags kept the Aces scoreless while forcing six missed shots. On the offensive end, they scored nine in a row to go up 19-14 inside of the 8-minute mark. Consecutive baskets by Toumi made it a 1-point game once again.
Things did not extend beyond one possession in the final six minutes with Fairfield taking a 28-27 halftime lead. Toumi lead all players with 10 tallies in the opening 20 minutes.
Strawbridge took over in the opening moments of the second half, scoring the opening eight points including a dunk as the Aces went up 35-29. Six minutes in, Sekou Kalle added a dunk that gave UE a game-high 40-31 edge. The Stags defense took over at that point as they held UE scoreless for six minutes while scoring nine in a row to tie the game at 40-40.
Once again, Strawbridge took action as he scored the next four points to put the Aces back on top with Fairfield countering with a triple on the other end with the game entering the last eight minutes. Evansville would go back up by five (48-43) with 6:58 showing on the clock. The Stags continued to inch their way back before jumping back in front at 49-48 with a pair of free throws inside the 5-minute mark.
What would turn into a 10-0 run by the Stags put them in front – 53-48 inside of three minutes left. Toumi halted the stretch with a pair of free throws but Fairfield matched those tallies on the other end to hold a 57-50 edge with 70 ticks remaining and would go on to win by the 7-point margin – 63-56.
Missouri Valley Conference action gets underway on Wednesday when the Aces welcome Southern Illinois to the Ford Center for a 7 p.m. game.
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