UE men lose 10th straight game, up at Valparaiso, despite Bobe’s career-high 22 points

University of Evansville men's basketball program.
University of Evansville men's basketball program.(WFIE)
Published: Jan. 28, 2023 at 11:18 PM CST
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VALPARAISO, Ind. (WFIE) - Continuing his inspiring journey from a walk-on to a starter, Gage Bobe paced the University of Evansville men’s basketball team in Saturday evening’s 81-69 loss to Valparaiso inside Athletics-Recreation Center.

Bobe recorded a career-high 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting versus the Beacons.  He drained six of Evansville’s nine 3-point makes in the game.  Yacine Toumi finished with 12 points while Marvin Coleman II added 10.  Ben Krikke paced Valpo with a game-high 30 points.  He fell one rebound shy of a double-double completing the game with nine.

“We came off a game where we had a great start and hoped that would carry over to tonight.  I felt like the way we prepared would give us a really good chance tonight,” Purple Aces head coach David Ragland said.  “They came out and punched us in the mouth and it is hard to come back from that.”

Five of the first six attempts from the field found the bottom of the net to put Valparaiso up 12-0 in the opening three minutes of the contest.  Kenny Strawbridge Jr. took a feed from Yacine Toumi to get Evansville’s first basket at the 16:30 mark.

Up by a 15-8 score, the Beacons tacked on the next eight to push the lead to 23-8.  Valpo’s largest advantage of the half came with 7:26 remaining when a free throw by Kobe King made it a 31-12 game.  Over the next four minutes, Evansville rallied with a 14-2 run to make it a 33-24 score.  Bobe highlighted the stretch with a pair of 3-pointers.

Capping off the half with a basket at the buzzer, Valparaiso took a 43-28 lead into the break.  The Beacons shot 51.7% in the half and connected on 10 of their 11 tries from the free throw line.  Ben Krikke had 17 points in the opening 20 minutes.

Evansville cut into the deficit in the first six minutes of the final period with Bobe converting his third triple of the evening to cut the gap to 54-42 at the 14:07 mark.  On the ensuing Valpo possession, Evansville’s defense came close to forcing a turnover but the Beacons were able to call a time out.  That play was the start of a 7-0 run that saw Valpo tie its largest lead at 19.

Playing the top game of his career, Bobe hit consecutive triples to chop six tallies off the Beacon lead.  Preston Phillips hit both ends of a one-and-one to make it a 65-54 game as the Aces fought to get back within single digits.  As the game went through its final minutes, UE could not get over the hump with the Beacons completing the night with the 81-69 triumph.

Both teams shot well with Valpo finishing at 50.9% and UE shooting 43.3%.  The Beacons recorded a 38-28 advantage on the boards.

UE returns home on Wednesday to face Indiana State in a 7 p.m. game at the Ford Center.