Humrichous’ 21 points lifts Aces past RedHawks in opener


Aces open the season with 72-64 win 

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Ben Humrichous led the way with 21 points as the University of Evansville men’s basketball team opened the season with a 72-64 victory over Miami Ohio at the Ford Center.

Limited to just three points in the first half, Humrichous erupted for 18 points in the second half.  He connected on four of his six outside tries while adding eight rebounds and three assists.  Joshua Hughes started his freshman campaign with 12 points and seven rebounds.  Yacine Toumi was third Purple Aces player to reach double figures, scoring 10 on a 5-of-9 shooting game.  Darweshi Hunter tied for the top scoring total with 21 points.  He drained six of his eight 3-point tries.

“It comes down to getting stops.  We went through a stretch where we got some big stops and turned them into points,” UE head coach David Ragland said after the win.  “Our depth, size and conditioning caught up to Miami and really helped us.  Forcing 19 turnovers and getting to the free throw line 30 times were big for us.  We are happy to be 1-0.”

Cam Haffner connected from downtown in the first possession before converting a layup to make it a 5-0 lead for the Aces.  Miami came right back with five in a row to tie it up before taking their first lead of 8-7 just over four minutes into the game.  Yacine Toumi’s first basket of the night gave the lead back to UE on the ensuing possession.

Over the course of the first half, the squads exchanged the lead on nine occasions.  Neither team led by more than one possession until the late moments of the period.  After Joshua Hughes converted three free throws to put Evansville in front by a 23-22 score at the 7-minute mark, the RedHawks scored seven in a row to open a 29-23 edge with 4:42 remaining.

Antonio Thomas ended the Miami run before Haffner forced a steal and found Toumi on the outlet pass to make it a 1-possession game once again less than a minute later.  MU overcame the rally by Evansville and held a 34-32 lead at the break.  Darweshi Hunter hit four triples in the opening stanza to lead all scorers with 13 points.  The RedHawks shot 61.9% in the half with UE finishing at 43.5%.

Kenny Strawbridge Jr. grabbed a loose ball and nailed a 3-pointer to get his squad within one at 38-37 in the opening moments of the second half, but the hot shooting for Miami continued with back-to-back triples giving them their largest lead of seven points just over a minute later.  Ben Humrichous ended the stretch with a 3-point play and Haffner once again connected with Toumi on a dunk to cut the deficit to two inside of the 16-minute mark.

Two more triples by MU extended their lead to a game-high eight points at 52-44 with 12:47 remaining in the game.  Facing its largest deficit of the night, the Aces stormed back with Ben Humrichous doing the damage.  Back-to-back triples along with a pair from inside the arc highlighted a 12-0 run over the next four minutes as UE went back up by four.

Miami got back within one on two occasions, but Evansville kept up the pressure.  Joshua Hughes connected on a layup to open a 7-0 run to push the advantage to 65-57 with 4:14 remaining.  UE led by as many as nine in the final minutes and clinched the win by a final score of 72-64.

“Our scout team really made us ready to win tonight,” Ben Humrichous exclaimed.  “The group that we have is a tough group but a very connected group.  We knew we had plenty of time to come back and we were able to put it together and work as a team.”

Evansville’s defensive effort was crucial in the final 20 minutes.  Miami hit 7 of its opening 11 attempts in the period before the Aces defense held them to just 5-of-20 in the final 12 minutes.  MU finished with the night at 48.1% while the Aces shot 45.1%.

On Thursday, the Aces return to the floor to face UHSP at 7 p.m. inside the Ford Center.