Smith with 23 points, Evansville downs Valparaiso 75-65
VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Dru Smith scored 23 points with six rebounds, four assists and Evansville downed Valparaiso 75-65 on Wednesday night, snapping a three-game skid.
Ryan Taylor added 22 points and five rebounds and K.J. Riley chipped in 10 points for the Purple Aces (13-9, 3-6 Missouri Valley Conference) who had a 42-34 rebounding edge over Valparaiso.
Evansville trailed through much of the first half, going ahead for good on a pair of free throws by John Hall and they finished on a 15-9 surge to lead 38-30 at intermission.
Valparaiso closed to 49-47 midway through the second half but Taylor hit a layup and Smith a jumper to push it to 53-47 with just under 10 minutes left. Riley, Taylor, Smith and John Hall combined for a perfect 14 points from the free-throw line in the final 1:22 to seal the win.
Bakari Evelyn scored 17 points with four rebounds and four assists for the Crusaders (11-11, 2-7). Tevonn Walker added 14 points and six rebounds.