Christian Benzon scored a career-high 18 points as the University of Evansville Men’s Basketball team finished the game on a 20-5 run defeat Austin Peay, 77-69, on Saturday evening at the Winfield Dunn Center.
Benzon hit eight of his 10 shots for the Purple Aces (8-4) while hauling in a team-best seven rebounds. Jaylon Brown led the way for UE with 25 points, hitting nine out of 18 shots while having another perfect night from the line, going 6-6.
“Its not easy to win anywhere on the road, especially here. I am really proud of our guys, they hung in there,” UE head coach Marty Simmons said. “Christian played really well, that is what you expect from your seniors. This is just a great road win for us.”
Josh Robinson was the top scorer for the Governors (4-7) as he totaled 24 points while playing all 40 minutes. He hit 12 out of 13 free throws. Zach Glotta went 4-5 from outside on his way to 14 tallies.
Neither offense was able to get rolling in the early minutes as Austin Peay held a 5-4 edge at the 15:42 mark. Evansville made just one of its first six attempts from the field.
Duane Gibson hit a layup with 10:47 left in the period to give UE a 13-11 lead before Austin Peay made the first big run of the game. The Governors reeled off 11 in a row over the next four minutes to go up 22-13. They hit four out of six shots in the run, including a pair of triples.
Ryan Taylor hit a trey of his own to end the run as the Aces completed the half on a run of their own, outscoring APSU by a 23-9 margin to go into halftime leading 36-31. After hitting four of their first 12 shots, the Aces regrouped to finish the period connecting on 10 of their final 13 tries.
Out of the break, the Aces knocked down three of their first five shots on the way to their largest lead of the game at 42-34. The Governors punched back, hitting all three free throws on a foul before the fifth trey of the night got them within four at 44-40 just over four minutes in.
Midway through the half, Austin Peay went back in front. A Zach Glotta triple, his fourth of the night, gave the Governors a 54-52 lead and they pushed the lead to seven points (64-57) with 5:58 left on the clock. At that point, the Aces defense clamped down, notching seven in a row to tie it up three minutes later. Four of Benzon’s points came in the run before a pair of free throws put APSU back on top.
Benzon’s career night continued as he hit a pair of clutch free throws to tie it at 66 before a Ryan Taylor layup saw UE retake the lead. Following a pair of Governor free throws that tied it back up, Jaylon Brown’s and-one pushed the UE lead to 71-68 with just over a minute on the clock. From there, the Aces were able to extend the lead to the final of 77-69.
The rebounding battle went the Aces way by a 36-29 final while UE also outshot APSU, 54.5%-39.6%.
Regular season non-conference play wraps up on Thursday as the Purple Aces will face Mount St. Joseph at the Ford Center in a 7:00 p.m. contest.