K.J. Riley, Marty Hill, and Shea Feehan each recorded double figures as the University of Evansville men’s basketball team fell by a final of 99-60 in the season opener against the University of Evansville.
“I thought our guys put up a good fight and played better in the second half. Illinois was very physical and did not allow us to get into anything,” UE head coach Walter McCarty said. “You cannot win when you have 25 turnovers and nine assists. I thought we did some stuff better in the second half that will help us moving forward.”
UE’s top scorer was Riley. The junior knocked down four field goals and six free throws on his way to 14 points. Marty Hill set his career mark with 13 points. It eclipsed his top total of 12 from a season ago. In his Evansville debut, Peoria, Ill. native Shea Feehan scored 12 points as he hit 4 of his 8 attempts. Hill was the Aces’ top rebounder, finishing with six while freshman Shamar Givance did a nice job with the offense, dishing out four assists.
Pacing the Fighting Illini was Aaron Jordan with 19 points. Ayo Dosunmu notched 18 while three others recorded double figures.
An and-one by K.J. Riley gave UE a 3-2 lead in the opening minute of play. After Illinois rebounded, Evan Kuhlman put the Aces on top at 8-7 with a 3-pointer at the 17:03 mark. From there, the Fighting Illini were able to take control.
A 10-0 run gave them a 17-8 lead before they extended it to a 53-22 advantage at the break. K.J. Riley paced the team with nine points while going 5-7 from the line. Evan Kuhlman finished the half with five points. Illinois was 20-of-42 from the field in the opening stanza, showing 47.6% while holding UE to 36.4%. They also had a 24-13 rebounding edge in the first 20 minutes.
Illinois shot 69% in the second half as they cruised to the 99-60 victory. Evansville performed better in the latter stanza, knocking down five triples, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
Evan Kuhlman played a game-high 32 minutes while John Hall added 31. It was the top career total for both players.
Next up for the Aces is a trip to Cincinnati to face Xavier. The game will take place at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday. Fox Sports Ohio will have the broadcast.
“We are going to watch film and practice to clean up some things. We need to be ready to play and have to bring a different physicality to the next game,” McCarty added.