Jaylon Brown was 14-of-15 from the free throw line and finished with 29 points to lead the University of Evansville Men's Basketball team to a 69-66 victory over Bowling Green on Tuesday at the Ford Center.
"Bowling Green was really competitive and we had a lot of difficulty matching up against them, we definitely have some areas we have to improve in defensively," Aces head coach Marty Simmons said. "I am really proud of our guys for battling. We got into some foul trouble, but were able to overcome that. I am especially proud of Ryan (Taylor). He fought all night long and his block was a game changer."
Brown hit seven shots to go along with his 14 free throws on his way to the 29-point effort to lead the Purple Aces (5-4). He also grabbed seven rebounds. Willie Wiley was efficient once again as he knocked down four out of six field goals to tally nine points. He tied Brown's team-best tally of seven boards.
"We did just enough to win, we were able to execute just enough," Brown said. "Our guys made some great plays on defense that translated into offense and we were able to hang on."
Bowling Green (3-6) opened the night up scoring six of the first eight points in the first two minutes of play. Willie Wiley got the Aces going with a dunk before a Brown trey gave UE its first lead at 7-6. With the score knotted up at 11-11, UE made its first big run of the game, scoring eight in a row to take a 19-11 advantage at the 11:40 mark. Brown had four of those tallies.
The Falcons cut the deficit to a possession at 24-21 with 6:08 remaining before UE responded. Two more Brown free throws in the final two minutes gave the Aces their largest lead at 36-25 before they took a 38-29 lead into the half. Brown scored 19 points in the opening frame while hitting all eight free throw attempts.
An 11-2 run out of the locker room got the Falcons right back into it. They knocked down four buckets in six attempts during the run. Christian Benzon hit a shot for Evansville as they were able to regain control. His shot helped UE to a 52-45 edge at the midway point of the stanza, but just as they had all game, the Falcons did not give up. A 6-0 run got them within one at 52-51.
Evansville retook a 2-possession lead as Jaylon Brown connected on two free throws with 3:35 left on the clock. That made the score 58-54, but on the next BGSU possession, Antwon Lillard hit a triple making it a 1-point game before Ismail Ali tied it up with a free throw with under three minutes left.
The sixth bucket of the night for Brown proved to be a big one. A breakaway layup and foul saw Brown put UE back up three at 61-58 seconds later. Another huge play came on the next trip down the floor. With BGSU headed in for an open layup, Ryan Taylor hustled in with a block that put the ball back in the Aces' hands. Duane Gibson hit a free throw on the other end to make it a 4-point tilt. Brown added to more from the charity stripe to put Evansville up 64-58 with 59 ticks left.
Just when things looked comfortable for the Aces, Bowling Green responded with a triple. Rodrick Caldwell was the shooter this time, hitting his second long ball of the night as the UE lead was back within three once again. After a Brown free throw put the Aces up 69-66, a final triple by the Falcons fell short as UE came away with its fifth win of the season.
Pacing the Falcons was Demajeo Wiggins. He registered 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. He was one of three BGSU players to record double figures.
Evansville did a nice job of taking care of the ball, turning it over just nine times. It marked the second times in three games that the Aces had fewer than 10 turnovers.
Two more games remain in the home stand, beginning on Saturday when UE welcomes Murray State to the Ford Center for a 1:00 p.m. game. Next Wednesday, Norfolk State comes to town for a 7:00 p.m. matchup.