UE remains on the road at UNI on Tuesday
Ryan Taylor continued his streak of reaching double figures in each game this season, posting 13, but four Missouri State players did the same as the Bears took a 72-55 win over the University of Evansville men’s basketball team on Saturday at JQH Arena.
Taylor hit 5 of his 10 shots, but was limited to just 18 minutes for UE (16-11, 6-8 MVC) after fouling out in the second half. Dru Smith returned to the lineup after missing three games and scored 12 points. He hit 5 of his 7 shot attempts. Blake Simmons paced the squad with seven rebounds.
“This has been a great group of guys but today, we were not ready to go,” UE head coach Marty Simmons said. “We were not really disciplined on either side of the ball today. There really are not any excuses. We have to play harder and pay more attention to detail.”
J.T. Miller was the leading scorer in the game, registering 16 for the Bears (17-10, 7-7 MVC). Mustafa Lawrence had 12 while Alize Johnson and Jarrid Rhodes notched 11 apiece. Johnson and Obediah Church hauled in 13 boards apiece as MSU finished with a 45-22 rebounding advantage.
Mustafa Lawrence helped Missouri State take the early 12-4 lead as he knocked down a pair of early triples. The Bears scored the opening five points of the day before Ryan Taylor got UE on the board two minutes in. MSU continued to shoot well, hitting four of its first six shots while also posting the first eight rebounds of the game.
After taking a 14-6 lead, the Bears got called for a technical foul and Taylor made them pay. He drained both free throws before Riley hit one on the ensuing possession to cut the gap to five. Making his return after missing the last three games, Dru Smith connected on a 3-pointer to get the Aces within a pair – 14-12 – with 11 minutes remaining in the half.
MSU utilized a 7-0 run to push its advantage to 21-12 as Lawrence drained his third long ball of the half. The tenacious Aces squad rallied to cut the gap to two once again. Freshmen Evan Kuhlman and Noah Frederking each recorded buckets to get UE back within a 26-24 score with four minutes left.
Over the final minutes of the period, the Bears took control as they reeled off the final 11 tallies on their way to a 37-24 halftime lead. Seven of those points came from Alize Johnson, who went a perfect 7-for-7 from the line in the final minutes.
The first basket of the second half belonged to the Bears on a J.T. Miller dunk, but on the next UE trip down the floor, Smith got the Aces on the board with his second trey of the game. MSU’s lead reached 16 points at 47-31 before the Aces scored four in a row, including a pair of Dainius Chatkevicius free throws.
Evansville continued to hang tough, but midway through the half, Taylor fouled out and Missouri State took advantage, adding to its lead. That lead reached as many as 23 points (72-49) in the final minutes before UE cut it to the final of 17 points – 72-55.
UE shot 37.3% for the game while MSU’s offense hit 45.8% of its attempts. The Aces did a nice job taking care of the ball, turning the ball over just nine times while forcing 13 on the Bears.
Road play continues for the Aces as they travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa to play at UNI on Tuesday evening at 7