Aces Battle To The Finish Against Salukis

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UE drops 78-73 game at SIU

Marty Hill scored a game-high 20 points and Dainius Chatkevicius added a career-high of 13 points, but five Southern Illinois players reached double digits with the Salukis hanging on for a 78-73 win over the University of Evansville men’s basketball team on Saturday evening inside SIU Arena.

“I loved our fight tonight, we were ready to go.  We never gave in and fought to the end.  That is what I wanted to see,” UE head coach Walter McCarty said.  “We were against a really good basketball team tonight and we were able to run our actions; we are growing as a basketball team. We are playing a lot of freshmen and sophomore and I am happy with the way they never gave up.”

Hill had an efficient night for the Purple Aces (10-15, 4-8 MVC), posting his 20 points on 5-for-8 shooting and a 6-of-7 effort from the line.  Chatkevicius led everyone with his 10 rebounds along with 13 points on the way to his second career double-double and his first of the season. K.J. Riley scored 11 points.

Leading SIU (13-12, 6-6 MVC) was Kavion Pippen, who scored 18 points.  Aaron Cook was next with 15.

Evansville utilized the long ball to score its first six points of the game.  Shamar Givance knocked down the first before John Hall connected to give UE a 6-5 lead at the 15:39 mark.  The teams continued to swap the lead over the opening as four more lead changes led to a 16-15 lead for the Salukis at the midway point of the half.

Over the next five minutes, Southern Illinois used an 11-2 run to take a 27-17 advantage with under five minutes left in the period.  They hit five out of eight shots in the run.  Evansville made sure the edge for SIU did not get any higher as they scored the next eight points.  Started off by a pair of K.J. Riley free throws, the Aces connected on their next three tries and got within a pair at 27-25.  The Salukis connected on a triple at the buzzer to take a 35-30 halftime advantage.

Southern Illinois recorded the first six points of the second half, extending their lead to a game-high 41-30.  Just as they did in the first half, the Aces came right back.  Marty Hill scored five in a row to cut the gap to six before a dunk by Dainius Chatkevicius got UE back within four at 43-39 four minutes in.

Shea Feehan got the Aces even closer.  Two minutes later, his triple made it a one-point game – 45-44.  Evansville was never able to get the basket to give them the lead during that stretch.  Southern Illinois increased its lead to 12 points (66-54) with three minutes on the clock.  The Aces did not make things easy for SIU.  Hill struck again with his third triple of the night before a Jawaun Newton layup one minute later cut the deficit to 66-60.

Evansville got even closer.  In the final 20 seconds, Riley and Hill connected on 3-pointers that made it just a 3-point game, but two late free throws finished off the SIU win, making it a 78-73 final.

Both teams finished the game shooting 47.3%.  UE took the rebounding edge by a 35-31 final.

Two home games are upcoming for the Aces when they welcome Missouri State to the Ford Center on Wednesday at 6 p.m. before UNI comes to town on Sunday, Feb. 17 for a 3 p.m. game.

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