EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – The University of Evansville men’s basketball team scored the first seven points of the game and never trailed as the Purple Aces earned a 70-52 win over Valparaiso on Sunday afternoon inside the Ford Center.
Shamar Givance led a trio of double-digit UE (7-8, 5-4 MVC) scorers with 10 points. He was 8-of-13 from the field and posted a game-high four assists. Jawaun Newton and Samari Curtis posted 17 apiece. Newton knocked down 7 of his 10 attempts and tied his career mark with eight rebounds. Curtis was also 7-of-10 from the field.
“I thought we were focused and had a good mindset as far as playing with the type of purpose that we needed to,” UE head men’s basketball coach Todd Lickliter exclaimed following the win. “Our guys really complemented each other and played to their strengths. You look at Jax Levitch – he did not take a shot, but he had a really good game. Shamar, Jawaun and Samari had open lanes because of the shooting ability that Jax and all of our guys have.”
A 3-for-3 start from the field extended to a 7-of-8 stretch that saw the Purple Aces hold an early 16-6 advantage. Jawaun Newton hit two early shots as the Aces opened up a 7-0 lead. It was Shamar Givance capping off the early stretch with his first triple of the game to complete the 16-6 start. Seven of the 16 points were scored by Newton.
Ben Krikke hit his first five attempts including two from outside to help the Crusaders (6-10, 3-4 MVC) get within four points at 27-23 at the 7:30 mark before Noah Frederking drained his first 3-point try on a feed from Jax Levitch to push the lead back to seven points. Over the final moments of the half, Evan Kuhlman took over on the offensive end adding five points to send the Aces to the break with a 37-27 lead. Kuhlman’s first triple came with an assist from Newton that cemented the double-digit halftime lead. UE finished the half shooting 66.7% with 16 of its 24 attempts finding the bottom of the net. Valpo finished the period at 47.8%.
Evansville’s hot shooting continued in the second half, converting four of its first six attempts on the way to a game-high 48-31 lead at the 16-minute mark. Samari Curtis scored five in a row and added another field goal with 13 minutes remaining to push the advantage to 58-37. Valpo kept the Aces off the scoreboard for a 5-minute span while cutting nine points off of the UE advantage. A triple by Eron Gordon started a 9-0 stretch that made it a 58-46 game with eight minutes remaining.
Newton ended the scoreless drought when he converted an in-bound pass from Levitch. It was the first field goal in a 6-0 run that saw the Aces regain control. Over the remainder of the game, the lead would reach as many as 23 points (70-44) and would not go under 17 with Evansville ending a 3-game skid with a 70-52 win.
Krikke led Valpo with 18 points. He knocked down 7 out of 9 field goal tries and was 2-for-2 from outside. Gordon tallied 13.
Evansville hit a season-high 29 field goals in the win with 23 being inside the arc. For the game, UE shot 60.4% while hitting 23 out of 30 inside attempts. Valparaiso shot 47.5%. The rebounding edge also favored the Aces to the tun of a 27-19 final.
On Monday, the teams will square off in a 6 p.m. game at the Ford Center.
Courtesy: UE Athletics
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