Bailey and Cuff lead the way as Aces outlast Wabash


UE wins by a final of 76-66

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – In their first game wearing the Purple Aces uniform, Chuck Bailey III and Tanner Cuff led the way for the University of Evansville men’s basketball team in Saturday’s 76-66 win over Wabash College at the Ford Center.

Bailey connected on eight of his 11 field goal tries and finished with a team-best 16 points.  Cuff was 5-for-9 from the field and 2-of-4 from long range on his way to 14 points.  Kenny Strawbridge Jr. also reached double figures with 10 points.  Yacine Toumi scored nine points while tying Strawbridge for the team lead with three assists.  On the glass, Ben Humrichous led all players with eight rebounds.

Ahmoni Jones led the Little Giants with a game-high 17 points while Vinny Buccilla scored 14.  Noah Hupmann, the son of former UE great Sascha Hupmann, saw seven minutes of playing time.

Wabash opened the game on a 16-5 run and would lead for nearly 19 minutes throughout the first half.  The Little Giants knocked down triples on their first two offensive possessions of the day to take a 6-0 lead before another trey pushed the lead to 9-1 less than two minutes in.  Kenny Strawbridge Jr. converted the first field goal of the game at the 17:52 mark before Wabash continued to scorch the nets with the fourth 3-pointer of the game capping off the 16-5 start over the first five minutes.  They opened the game 6-of-9 from the field.

Evansville made its way back with Sekou Kalle posting six consecutive points to chop the lead down to five.  Chuck Bailey III added a pair of field goals to cap off a 14-3 stretch that tied the game at 19-19 with 10:10 remaining in the half.  Just when it looked like the Aces were in business, the Little Giants bounced back with a 9-0 run that turned a 24-23 edge into a 33-23 lead with exactly six minutes showing on the clock.

Once again, UE responded and this time, they would take their first lead of the game.  A second-chance basket from Ben Humrichous finished off a 16-5 stretch that put Evansville on top – 39-38 – with 2:13 left in the period.  Highlighting the run was a pair of triples from Tanner Cuff.  Wabash knocked down the last field goal of the half to retake a 40-39 lead heading into the locker room.  They shot 44.4% in the half but the defense for UE held them to 37.0% shooting following their big start.

Cam Haffner drained his first triple of the contest in the first possession of the second half to put his squad back on top, but Wabash continued to rally each time with seven lead changes taking place in the final period.  Neither team led by more than a possession over the first seven minutes of the half until a field goal by Gage Bobe put the Aces up 55-51 with 12:33 remaining.

From that point on, Wabash would tie the game on multiple occasions but would not retake the lead.  Inside the final four minutes, Evansville was able to slowly pull away to secure the victory.  After a free throw by the Little Giants cut the UE lead to 68-66 with 4:10 remaining, the Aces finished the game on an 8-0 run to finish with the 76-66 triumph.

Shooting 54.5% in the second half, UE outshot Wabash by a 49.2%-41.9% margin while finishing with a 38-32 edge on the glass.

With preseason action complete, the Aces have their sights set on the Nov. 6 season opener against Miami Ohio.  Tip is set for 7 p.m. at the Ford Center.