Newton records 21 points in the loss
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – A pair of second half runs by Drake University proved to be the difference with the Bulldogs edging the University of Evansville men’s basketball team by a final of 60-59 inside the Ford Center on Saturday afternoon.
Leading by six points at halftime, the Purple Aces (4-10, 0-3 MVC) saw the lead dwindle in the opening minutes of the second half with Drake (11-5, 2-1 MVC) rallying to go up by as many as nine points midway through the final 20 minutes. UE rallied late and came within inches of hitting a game-winner at the buzzer.
“Sometimes these tests are to see if you will crack and I know that our guys will not,” UE head coach Todd Lickliter said. “The start of the second half was the difference but I am happy with how our guys played. It is a game of inches, we had two shots on the rim to win it.”
Jawaun Newton tallied a game-high 21 points and 9 rebounds. He was 8-for-11 from the field. Shamar Givance added 18 point. The Bulldogs were paced by a 15-point gave from Tucker DeVries.
Evan Kuhlman grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds in a single possession before converting the first basket of the game for UE to take its first lead at 3-2. Five in a row by Shamar Givance, including a triple, extended the advantage to 8-4. A 7-0 stretch by the Bulldogs gave them an 11-8 lead before a basket from Jawaun Newton ended the stretch. With 12 minutes remaining, Blake Sisley put the lead back in the Aces hands with a 3-pointer.
Evansville regained momentum as the half entered the final six minutes. With the score tied at 21-21, a 3-point play by Newton started a 12-2 run that gave UE its largest advantage of the period. Newton added another field goal before two Emmette Page free throws made it a 28-22 score. An excellent look by Noah Frederking found an open Evan Kuhlman at the free throw line for a bucket at the 3:36 mark before the second triple from Givance extended the advantage to 33-23. Drake picked up the final two scores of the period to make it a 33-27 game at the break in favor of the Aces. Givance led all scorers with 12 points in the first 20 minutes.
Triple in three consecutive possessions by the Bulldogs cut the UE lead to a pair at 38-36 in the opening minutes of the second half. They would eventually go in front at 44-41 before a 3-point play by Newton tied it up with 11:59 left in the game. Drake countered with a game-changing run that saw them reel off nine in a row to go up 53-44 at the 9:30 mark.
A huge triple from Frederking ended the stretch before Newton got his squad even closer as the game closed in on the final five minutes. He scored five in a row to cut the deficit to three at 57-54. The Bulldogs stretched the advantage back to six with 2:39 showing on the clock before the Aces made one final charge. Following a Sisley free throw, the UE defense forced a Bulldog miss with Newton taking advantage on the other end. His 3-point play cut the gap to 60-58 with 1:37 left.
On the ensuing Bulldog possession, Givance drew an offensive foul and converted a free throw to make it a one point game. The defense got the job done once again, forcing a Drake miss to give the offense a final possession to complete the game. Evansville had two shots come within inches of falling in the final seconds, giving Drake the 60-59 victory.
UE looks ahead to a midweek game at Bradley on Wednesday, January 12.