A 7-0 rally in the opening portion of the second half pushed Indiana State to a 76-70 victory over the University of Evansville men’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon inside the Ford Center.
ISU (12-8, 9-6 MVC) trailed by eight points with just under four minutes remaining in the opening half. A late run saw them take a 2-point lead at the break before a 7-0 stretch in the second frame gave them the lead for good. Evansville (8-11, 6-7 MVC) was led by Shamar Givance and Jawaun Newton, who finished with 14 points apiece. Samari Curtis added 13 while Noah Frederking recorded 10. Tyreke Key hit 12 field goals on his way to a game-high 29 points for ISU.
“We kept fighting and we did have some good runs, but they (ISU) finished the first half well. Instead of us extending the lead, they cut into it and actually took the lead at the half,” UE head coach Todd Lickliter said. “We just could not manufacture the points that we needed today and turned it over too many times.”
Through the first 20 minutes, the Purple Aces shot 66.7% with 14 out of 21 attempts finding the bottom of the net. UE scored the first five points of the day with Jawaun Newton scoring on the opening possession before Jax Levitch converted the first triple of the game. Indiana State responded with nine in a row to take their first lead at 9-5.
Newton ended a drought of nearly five minutes with a basket before Samari Curtis found an open Evan Kuhlman who knotted it at 9-9. With ISU up by a 19-15 score, the Aces scored the next nine points to open up a 24-19 advantage. Curtis got it started with a 3-point play before finishing it off with a field goal. UE’s defense held the Sycamores scoreless for a span of four minutes.
Evansville’s hot shooting continued as back-to-back field goals from Iyen Enaruna cemented a 31-23 UE lead with 3:50 remaining in the half. Indiana State scored the next five points over the ensuing 48 seconds and continued to rally back over the final moments of the half. A Tyreke Key jumper at the buzzer capped off a 14-4 run that sent ISU to the half with a 37-35 lead.
Baskets from Curtis and Newton saw the Aces knot the score at 39-39 at the 16:47 mark, but the next seven points belonged to the Sycamores as they changed the course of the game to take a 46-39 lead with 13:48 remaining. Just over two minutes later, their lead would reach double figures before a basket at the 7:59 mark gave them their largest lead at 60-47.
The lead hovered around ten points until the final minute when a Newton field goal made it a 74-67 game. Jax Levitch got the Aces even closer with a triple that cut ISU’s lead to 74-70, but with just eight ticks left in the contest, the run was not enough with the Sycamores taking a 76-70 win.
UE finished the game shooting 54.3% while the Sycamores finished at 59.6%. Both teams finished with 24 rebounds. Newton was the Aces top performer on the boards, finishing with seven.
On Wednesday, the teams will square off once again in a 4 p.m. CT game in Terre Haute.