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Ace’s basketball falls on the street in Central Florida

ORLANDO, FL. (WFIE) – Kenny Strawbridge Jr. returned to his form and scored 20 points as the University of Evansville men’s basketball team lost a 76-56 bout to the University of Central Florida at Addition Financial Arena on Wednesday night. Full statistics will be released as they become available.

“UCF have a lot of experience and they will win a lot of games. We did a good job of containing them in the first half but in the second half it seemed like the floodgates opened up during a phase,” said UE head coach David Ragland. “We need to do a better job of stopping the bleeding during these types of stretches and creating quality possessions.”

Antoine Smith Jr. scores nine points while Blaise Beauchamp equals his total.

Strawbridge hit two early shots to give the Aces a 6-0 lead. Evansville’s defense held the Knights off the field for a 0-on-5 start before getting on the board at 15:32. UCF took their first lead of the night 9-8 with just under 13 minutes to go at halftime. Her second treble of the night put her at 14-11, but it was Antoine Smith Jr. who delivered an instant reply at the other end to tie it right back.

UCF reeled off 11 straight points to take their biggest 25-15 advantage with four consecutive shots that hit the bottom of the net with less than nine minutes remaining at halftime. Confident his team would weather the odds, coach Ragland did just that and his team responded. Five in a row from Blaise Beauchamp marked a 7-0 rally for Evansville.

As the first half rolled into the final minute, the Knights extended their lead to 11 when a Taylor Hendricks dunk increased the lead to 35-24. UE didn’t let the deficit deter them and grabbed the momentum at half-time. Smith lost his second treble of the game and after a UCF miss, the Aces had the final possession. As time ran out, Marvin Coleman II lost a triple to send the Aces into the breakdown with just five – 35-30.

What turned into a 10-0 run by the Aces also opened the second half as Gage Bobe converted a steal into a fast break basket to open the scoring. Coleman hit a layup on the ensuing possession to make it a 35-34 game. Five minutes into the final stanza, Preston Phillips knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a 42-39 game, but the tide turned in the blink of an eye.

Eight straight games by the Knights in less than a minute, they achieved their widest lead at 50-39. Strawbridge helped UE get back to seven points before UCF would take control. Within the 6 minute mark they took a 66-51 lead and took the win with 20.

UE travel to Savannah this weekend where they will face off against South Alabama, Robert Morris and Fairfield.

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