Junior guard Eric Washington prepares to shoot a free throw during Miami’s 69-50 loss to Evansville Wednesday night. Junior guard Geovonie McKnight (0) and junior forward Kalif Wright (21) look on. 

Photo by Connor Moriarty

Evansville hands Miami first loss of season in 69-50 contest

By Gav Davis, For The Miami Student

The Miami University basketball team was outplayed and defeated 69-50 by the University of Evansville Wednesday night.

The RedHawks fell to 1-1 on the year, while Evansville improved to 2-0 thus far.

Miami had the game tied up at 2-2 for a minute and a half, but the Purple Aces took the lead and never gave it up.  

“[They’re] not a team that’s, for lack of a better word, ‘sexy,’” head coach John Cooper said. “But it’s a team that’s … just solid and solid, and you just really start to appreciate what they do and how they go about doing it.”

Evansville’s first half success was largely in thanks to dominant play from junior center Egidijus Mockevicius, a 6-foot-10 bruiser from Lithuania. Mockevicius was a perfect 6 for 6 in the first half, thanks to open dunks and point-blank, uncontested layups in the first 20 minutes of play. Mockevicius finished the game with 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Miami was however able to contain Evansville’s leading scorer in the first half. Junior guard D.J. Balentine went 1 of 6 with only 2 points in the first half. 

However, as great shooters tend to do, Balentine found his stroke in the second half 

Balentine improved to 6 of 17 from the field, racking up 19 points for his team. He became the catalyst to place Evansville’s lead out of arm’s reach for the RedHawks.

Junior center LJ Livingston Jr. led the ’Hawks in scoring, putting up 12 points and three blocks. Junior point guard Eric Washington put up eight points and added seven assists against three turnovers.

Junior guard Willie Moore could simply not get the ball to fall, contrary to his usual white-hot shooting RedHawks fans have grown accustomed to. Moore went 0 for 5 and 0 for 2 in the land of three, and failed to put a single point on the board for his team. 

Junior guard Geovonie McKnight shot 5 for 14 from the field, and 0 for 2 from behind the arc. He totaled 11 points, 3 rebounds and an assist through 35 minutes played.

“I mean every game you are not going to have a lights-out game like you had in first one,” McKnight said. “We just got to shoot better and get back in the gym.”

Miami’s plays the Liberty University Flames (2-1) Saturday in Millett Hall. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m.