Late Rally Comes Up Short For U of E Men’s basketball


Ryan Taylor Scores 26 In  Loss

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – University of Evansville junior Ryan Taylor scored a game-high 26 points on 11-of-23 shooting, but it was not enough for the Purple Aces men’s basketball team as they dropped a 47-41 decision against UNI on Tuesday at the McLeod Center.

Taylor paced Evansville (16-12, 6-9 MVC) with his 26 tallies.  Evan Kuhlman was next with five.  Two weeks after having the top rebounding effort of his career, senior Blake Simmons was at it again, hauling in a game-high 12 caroms.  UE trailed the Panthers by as many as 15 points midway through the second half but fought back to get a pair in the final minutes.

Two Panthers (13-14, 5-10 MVC) hit double figures as Hunter Rhodes had 12 and Bennett Koch had 10.  Tywhon Pickford led the way with 10 boards.

“I am disappointed in the loss, we had a rough finish to the first half that gave UNI some momentum,” Aces head coach Marty Simmons said following the game.  “One positive we can take is the way that we never gave up.  We continued to battle and give ourselves a chance and I give our guys credit for that.”

Rhodes gave UNI a lead on their opening possession, hitting a triple, but the Aces quickly found their groove, scoring five in a row to take their first lead at 5-3.  Ryan Taylor’s first bucket of the day, also a triple, gave Evansville the edge.

UNI retook a 6-5 advantage and pushed that to five points (16-11) on a Wyatt Lohaus trey at the 9:12 mark.  Taylor struck again with his second long ball as part of a 5-0 run that tied it back up before the Panthers notched four in a row to earn a 20-16 lead with six minutes left in the half.

A defensive struggle saw both teams endure scoring droughts, but John Hall helped UE take advantage as his shot with five minutes remaining in the period gave his squad a 21-20 lead before Taylor, who finished the half with 15 of the Aces’ 23 points, hit a jumper to extend the lead to 23-20.  From that point on, UNI took control, scoring the final 10 points on their way to a 30-23 halftime advantage.  At the buzzer, Klint Carlson hit a short jumper that gave them a 7-point lead at the break.

The seventh field goal of the game by Ryan Taylor ended the Aces’ scoring drought, but the Panthers were able to push their lead to double figures when Austin Phyfe connected on a bucket with 13 minutes remaining to give UNI a 37-27 lead forcing an Evansville timeout.  The Panthers added five more tallies to their edge as the score stood at 42-27 midway through the second half.

Limited to just four points in the opening 10 minutes of the period, Evansville regrouped on both ends.  A 9-0 run was capped off by an Evan Kuhlman three as UE made it a 43-36 game.  Bennett Koch ended a 5-minute drought with a free throw, but Taylor kept UE rolling with his 10th field goal to get the Aces within five with four minutes on the clock.

Following a UNI miss, Taylor made them pay again.  His fourth trey of the game cut the Panther lead to just a pair – 43-41 – with two minutes left.  The Panthers were able to regain their grasp from the line to make it a final of 47-41.  The Panthers were held without a field goal for the final 10 minutes of the game.

Evansville shot 36.7% on the day but was unable to get to the free-throw line.  The Aces defense was stellar, holding the Panthers to just 27.8% shooting.

UE is home Sunday to take on MVC leader Loyola.  Game time is 3 p.m. at the Ford Center.