Toumi sets career scoring mark against Sycamores
Evansville, Ind. — Yacine Toumi scored eight of his 16 field goal attempts Wednesday night to finish with a career-best 19 points as the University of Evansville men’s basketball team fell to Indiana State by a final score of 83-65 Wednesday night at the Ford Center.
Toumi’s performance surpassed his previous scoring high of 18, which he had against Campbell and Valparaiso. Kenny Strawbridge Jr. recorded 17, while Antoine Smith Jr. and Marvin Coleman II each had eight. Indiana State was led by Cooper Neese’s 19-point game, with Courvoisier McCauley scoring 18 points and catching 11 rebounds.
“We had a much better start tonight. Indiana State is a great team and we knew they were going to react. What I was really happy about was how we finished the first half to take it to a 1- points game,” said Purple Aces coach David Ragland after the game. “In the second half they were able to get out in the transition phase and built up a two-digit lead that was difficult to overcome.”
An exciting first half was characterized by great runs from both teams. Evansville connected with five straight shots and took a 12-2 lead in the first four minutes. After the Sycamores took a 2-0 lead, Yacine Toumi equalized with a knight. Antoine Smith Jr. followed with a three before Gage Bobe and Kenny Strawbridge Jr. added more buckets to extend the lead to 9-2. Marvin Coleman II capped the run with a triple to force a timeout from Indiana State.
After the stoppage, Indiana State lost five baskets to take a 16-12 lead less than three minutes later. Three threes and a 3-point game opened the run as ISU went up 16-12. Toumi ended the Sycamore run but they kept up the pressure and extended the lead to as much as 14 points – 37-23 – with 3:44 minutes remaining at halftime.
Evansville refused to budge, picking up steam right back in the final minutes and it was Strawbridge who took the lead with a 13-0 run. He opened the rally with two free throws and knocked down three 2-pointers to make it a 37-33 game at the 1:17 mark. As the seconds ticked by, UE recaptured the ball and Strawbridge sank a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to cut Indiana State’s lead to 37-36 at the break. Evansville hit five of his last six attempts at halftime, while the ISU’s last six possessions included three misses and three turnovers.
Bobe opened the second half with a three to level the game 39-39, but it was another ISU run that pushed the lead back into double digits. With a 42-41 lead, the ISU knocked down four straight field goals to open a 52-41 lead. Antoine Smith Jr. finished the stretch with his second field goal of the night and hit three free throws to put UE 52-46 to six and stay in the game 14-19.
Indiana State wouldn’t let the Aces get any closer. Another McCauley three was the start of a 20-7 run that gave the ISU their biggest lead, 72-53 and 6:17 on the clock. Evansville closed the gap to just 12 points in the final minutes before the Sycamores won the game with a final score of 83-65.
Highlighted by a 57.7% shooting performance in the second half, ISU finished the game with 53.8%. UE shot 41.8%. The Sycamores ended the night with a 35-27 advantage on the boards. Next up for the aces on Saturday is an away game at the UIC, with the tip scheduled for 1:00 p.m