Season ends in second round of Ro CBI


Aces fall to Seattle by a 71-57 final


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kenny Strawbridge Jr. scored a team-high 11 points but it was a 22-point game from Alex Schumacher that paced Seattle to a 71-57 win over the University of Evansville men’s basketball team in the second round of the Ro CBI at the Ocean Center.

It was a banner season for the Purple Aces who made their first postseason appearance since 2015.  UE completed the season with 17 wins, its highest tally since 2017-18.  In its Arch Madness opener, the Aces grabbed their first win in St. Louis since 2017 as they took down Illinois State.  In November, Evansville won its first six games of the season, the best start since the 1964-65 NCAA National Championship squad.

Those are just a few of the accomplishments for head coach David Ragland and his program as they complete the 2023-24 season.

Chuck Bailey III and Cam Haffner each recorded eight points while Tanner Cuff added six points and a team-high 5 boards.

Seattle took the early 2-0 lead as Evansville fought back to tie the score each time.  With the Redhawks holding an 8-6 lead, Tanner Cuff knocked down a triple to give the Purple Aces their first lead at 9-8 at the 15:26 mark.

After Seattle tied it up at 9-9, Sekou Kalle converted back-to-back buckets to make it a 13-9 game.  Evansville continued to add to the lead as a layup by Antonio Thomas extended the advantage to 20-12 as the half entered its final eight minutes.  The Redhawks clawed their way back, getting within two with 2:39 left in the period.

Kenny Strawbridge Jr. hit a layup before a turnover led to another Cuff 3-pointer that made it a 31-24 game entering the final minute.  Following a 4-0 run by Seattle, Gage Bobe drilled a triple in the final seconds to send the Aces to the break with a 34-28 lead.  The Aces shot 50% in the opening period.

Through the opening two minutes of the second half, the 6-point lead held strong as two Strawbridge free throws pushed the lead to 36-30.  Over the next four minutes, Seattle scored seven in a row to go back up by one, but at the 13:56 mark, Bobe knocked down another triple to put Evansville back in front.

The Redhawks wrestled away a 43-40 lead as the game moved into the last 12 minutes as Josh Hughes made a nice move at the basket to make it a 1-point game.  Unfortunately, Seattle responded in a big way.  Over the next seven minutes, the Redhawks outscored UE by an 18-2 margin to put things out of reach, going up 61-44 with 4:04 remaining.

Evansville’s relentless attitude showed in the final minutes as they never gave up.  Cam Haffner and Antonio Thomas each connected on triples to cut the deficit to nine points with just under two minutes on the clock, but that was as close as they would get with Seattle clinching the win.

It was a tale of two halves for both teams.  UE shot 50% in the first, but a 31.8% second-half saw them finish the game at 42.3%.  Seattle shot 40.9% in the opening 20 minutes before finishing the second half at 48.3%.  Their final tally finished at 45.1%.