Sisley posts top effort in the win
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Freshman Blake Sisley was one of four double digit scorers for the University of Evansville, who overcame a furious rally by Tennessee Tech to finish with a 59-51 victory on Saturday at the Ford Center.
Shamar Givance and Jawaun Newton were the top scorers for the Purple Aces (4-7, 0-1 MVC), each finishing with 15 points. Both also led the team with 7 rebounds. Givance posted the top tallies with 3 assists and 3 steals. Blake Sisley and Antoine Smith Jr. recorded 12 points apiece. Smith shot 4-for-6 from long range and blocked two shots. Sisley knocked down 5 of his 6 attempts to finish with 12 points, his top collegiate effort.
“This was a really competitive game. I thought our guys were on point on the defensive end,” Aces head coach Todd Lickliter commented. “Tennessee Tech is a nice team and I really like how they play, so for us to stay focused and play the way we did is a strong accomplishment.”
Jr. Clay tied for the game high with 15 points to lead the Golden Eagles (2-6). John Pettway finish the day with 10.
Both teams had trouble finding the bottom of the net, combining to miss the opening eight shots before Shamar Givance grabbed a steal and took it the other way for a layup. Jawaun Newton grabbed a defensive rebound and took it the length of the floor for a dunk to cap off a 6-2 start. A triple by Blaise Beauchamp stretched the lead to 9-4.
Tennessee Tech countered with its first big run of the game, registering the next seven tallies to take its first lead at 11-9. After a layup by John Pettway tied it at 9-9, Diante Wood knocked down a layup to put the Golden Eagles on top just past the midway point of the half. On Evansville’s ensuing trip down the floor, Preston Phillips hit his first shot to tie it back up. It ended a scoreless drought of 5:24 with UE missing seven shots in a row.
A back-and-forth sequence followed as the teams swapped the lead on ten occasions in the first 20 minutes. With TTU up 21-20, Givance drained two free throws before Antoine Smith Jr. connected on his second triple of the day to give Evansville a 25-21 lead. Blake Sisley capped off the first-half scoring with 90 ticks remaining, hitting a triple to send UE to the break with a 28-23 advantage.
The first two baskets of the second half belonged to Tennessee Tech, making it a 1-point game before Antoine Smith Jr. knocked down his third 3-pointer of the contest to push the advantage back to 31-27 in the opening four minutes. Evansville began the final period 2-of-11 from the field, allowing the Golden Eagles to cut the deficit to a pair (33-31) before Blake Sisley converted a feed from Evan Kuhlman to get back on the scoreboard.
Four of the next five field goal attempts found the bottom of the net with UE taking a 40-33 lead as the halfway point of the second half passed by. Evansville’s largest lead came at the 5:32 mark when a jumper by Shamar Givance padded the lead at 46-38. Two minutes later, the lead for the Aces stood at 51-44. After scoring three in a row, the Golden Eagles amped up the pressure and forced a UE turnover, which Keishawn Davidson turned into a triple that made it just a 1-point game.
What may have been the biggest shot of the game for UE came on the ensuing trip down the floor when Noah Frederking found Smith open in the corner for a triple that put the lead back at two possessions. Kuhlman blocked a TTU shot on the next possession before Jawaun Newton knocked down both free throws to make it a 56-50 lead entering the final minute. Tennessee Tech would not close any further with the Aces taking the game by a 59-51 final.
UE finished the game shooting 42.3% while Tennessee Tech shot 37.0%. The Golden Eagles finished with a 38-32 rebounding lead.
On Wednesday, the Aces take to the road for a contest at Southeast Missouri State.