Jawaun Newton scored a career-high 26 points while Shamar Givance added 21 in Friday evening’s 90-81 loss to Missouri State at the Ford Center.
Newton hit 8 of his 16 field goal attempts on the way to his top scoring effort at UE (8-15, 6-11 MVC). Prior to tonight, his career scoring mark stood at 22 points, which he recorded on January 16 at Bradley. Shamar Givance finished the evening just one point shy of his career mark. He posted 21 points with nine of his attempts finding the bottom of the net. He has reached double figures in each of the last six games.
Leading Missouri State (16-5, 12-5 MVC) was the duo of Gaige Prim and Isiaih Mosley. Prim scored a game-high 33 points while Mosley wrapped up the night with 26.
“I am really proud of the way our team competed tonight – our guys kept fighting the entire way,” Aces head coach Todd Lickliter exclaimed after the game. “I always tell our guys that we are either winning or getting ready to win and the way we are competing every game has been a positive for us.”
Both teams made their opening three shots of the game, leading to a 7-7 score. Missouri State continued its hot start, making its first five tries to take a 13-7 lead. A jumper by Evan Kuhlman ended a 4-minute scoring drought and helped the Aces begin a 7-0 stretch that was wrapped up when Jax Levitch drilled a triple on the break to put UE back in front by a 14-13 score at the 12:27 mark.
The lead changed hands five times before the Bears wrestled away a 30-25 advantage inside of the 5-minute mark. The Aces recorded five in a row to tie it up with Jawaun Newton connecting from downtown, but Missouri State countered with a 12-2 stretch to open up a 42-32 lead with 1:13 left in the half. Facing its largest deficit, Evansville was able to cut the gap in half over the final minute with Shamar Givance hitting a triple and a layup to make it a 42-37 MSU lead at halftime.
Newton had 12 points in the opening frame with Gaige Prim tallying a game-high 14 points for the Bears.
Givance continued his scoring streak in the second half with Newton finding him on consecutive possessions before a shot by Kuhlman put the Aces back in front at 43-42 with 18:11 left in the game. The Bears wrestled a two-possession lead back over the next stretch, going back up by a 53-47 tally before a 3-point play from Newton was part of a 5-0 stretch to get UE back within one with 14 minutes remaining.
Once again, MSU answered with a 10-2 run to take a 9-point edge as the second half moved past the midway point. The lead for Missouri State extended back to double figures before getting as high as 14 points (80-66) with under three minutes left. Evansville never relented, knocking down four 3-pointers in the final minutes while getting within six points, but the Bears converted their free throws to win by a final of 90-81.
Evan Kuhlman had another strong outing for Evansville, registering 16 points while Samari Curtis added 11. Givance led all players with seven assists while Newton was credited with a career-high four steals. MSU shot 69.4% on the night with the Aces finishing at 50.9%. The Bears also finished with a 30-21 edge in rebounds.
Tomorrow night, the Aces and Bears meet up inside the Ford Center for the regular season finale at 6 p.m.