Aces improve to 3-0 with road victory at SEMO


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Yacine Toumi tied his career scoring high with 20 points to help the University of Evansville men’s basketball team earn a 76-58 win over Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday evening inside the Show Me Center.

UE improves to 3-0 for the first time since the 2019-20 season on the strength of its largest win away from the Ford Center since the 2015-16 campaign.  That win was a 68-42 win over Indiana State at Arch Madness in St. Louis.

“From the beginning, we were locked in.  Our guys are so unselfish and connected and that is a great feeling as a coach,” UE head men’s basketball coach David Ragland said.  “A lot of credit goes to our scout team.  They did a great job.”

Toumi opened the game knocking down his first eight attempts before finishing 10-of-15.  He added five rebounds and three assists.  Ben Humrichous added 18 points on an efficient 7-of-10 effort from the field.  Cam Haffner and Kenny Strawbridge Jr. finished the night with 10 and 8 points, respectively.

Led by Toumi’s 12 first-half points, the Purple Aces had an exceptional opening 20 minutes.  Ben Humrichous picked up a 3-point play to open a 5-0 run that turned a 2-2 tie into a 7-2 advantage.  SEMO scored the next four before Antonio Thomas went coast-to-coast as he forced a steal and took it all the way for a layup to reestablish a 5-point lead at the 14:40 mark.

Chuck Bailey III converted a field goal that extended the lead to 19-10 as the period reached its midway point.  The Redhawks closed to within four points with 6:09 remaining in the half as an Adam Larson basket made it a 27-23 game.  That is when Evansville took control.  Over the next five minutes, UE went on a 12-3 run to make it a 39-26 game with 1:12 showing on the clock.

Ben Humrichous and Cam Haffner hit from long range during the run.  The final basket of the half belonged to the Redhawks, who cut the UE lead to 39-28 at the break.

Haffner drained a three to open the second half scoring while Humrichous had a second-chance basket to make it a 47-33 game two minutes into the period.  Southeast Missouri State responded with a 7-0 rally to cut the lead to eight points just two minutes later.  As fast as SEMO made its run, the Aces came right back.  Four points apiece from Toumi and Humrichous comprised an 8-0 stretch to give UE its largest lead of the night at 56-40 with 14:12 remaining.

Evansville continued to add to the lead with a turnaround jumper by Toumi pushing the edge to 64-45 with just over eight minutes on the clock.  Kenny Strawbridge Jr. hit a shot that made it a 20-point game for the first time and the advantage for UE would reach 21 in the final minutes before a late basket by the Redhawks made it the final of 76-57.

Strawbridge led UE with seven rebounds and five assists.  Antonio Thomas recorded a game-high four steals.  SEMO was led by Rob Martin and BJ Ward, who score nine each.  Evansville shot 53.3% on the game with the Redhawks finishing at 43.4%.  SEMO finished with a slight 31-30 edge on the boards.

On Saturday, UE will look to keep rolling with a 1 p.m. game against Ball State at the Ford Center.