Four University of Evansville player hit double figures as the Purple Aces outscored Oakland City by a 103-69 margin on Tuesday evening at the Ford Center.For the first time since November 19, 2004, Evansville (7-4) reached the century mark; the last time was a 100-85 victory over Central Michigan.
Freshman D.J. Balentine led the way for UE with 17 points while Ryan Sawvell and Ned Cox each scored 16. Lewis Jones notched 11. Leading the way for Oakland City (7-3) was Mitch Stahl, who registered a game-high 22.
Evansville got off to a quick 7-0 start as Ned Cox got the Aces on the board with a three. Oakland City missed its first two shots while committing a pair of turnovers before Mitch Stahl hit OCU’s first field goal three minutes in.
Ryan Sawvell hit a pair of early field goals as UE started the game 5-of-7 from the floor en route to a 14-4 advantage. The Aces continued to keep the pressure on as the lead grew to as many as 19 points at 23-4 before the Mighty Oaks knocked down a pair of treys to get with 12 at 27-15.
Sawvell continued to contribute in all facets as the Aces cruised to a 48-29 halftime advantage, scoring 12 in the opening stanza while hauling in seven boards. Cox also had double figures entering the break, including two threes. Relentless rebounding helped UE head to the break with a 27-13 edge in that category.
A lay-up by Troy Taylor helped Evansville gain its first 20-point advantage at 51-31 in the opening minute of the second stanza before the Mighty Oaks cut into the deficit to make it a 58-44 lead for UE. At that point, UE got in a groove, scoring the next 14 en route to a 72-44 lead. Evansville connected on four out of six shots and six free throws while OCU missed five shots while turning the ball over three times.
The lead would grow from there, reaching as many as 42 with under three minutes left before Evansville finished off 103-69 win.
For just the second time in his UE career, Sawvell has hit double figures in consecutive contests. Last season, he did it in three consecutive games with 13 at Wichita State, 11 versus Indiana State and 12 in a road win over Bradley. The Aces finished on top in nearly every category as they outrebounded OCU by a 47-26 margin while outshooting the Mighty Oaks by a 53%-45% final.
Next up for UE is a trip to Butler on Saturday afternoon. The Aces and Bulldogs will face off at 1 p.m. CT at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Following that trip, UE will commence MVC play at Creighton on Dec. 29.