The matchup between Evansville BB Club and Louisville Prospects was tightly contested. In fact, many of the games in the AAU National Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 were evenly matched. In this game, the lead went back and fourth. Ultimately, clutch free throw shooting by Evansville sealed the deal and helped them advance to the Elite Eight, winning 77 to 72.
In the first half, there was a lead change on just about every possession. Prospects’ Jay Murphy beat the clock in the first quarter to give them a 22 to 20 lead. Evansville didn’t spend too much time without the lead as Austin Sievers opened the second quarter connecting on three straight three-pointers. Sievers finished the game with team high 18 points, which included six three-point baskets.
On the other hand, Prospects were not shooting well from the field, but their offensive rebounding kept them in the game. Both teams continued back and forth scoring, finishing the half with Evansville up 41 to 38.
In the third, the scoring cooled off a bit and the game became more physical as each team looked to establish a presence in the blocks and run half court offensive sets. Evansville separated themselves in the third and had its largest lead at 52 to 45. Sievers of Evansville was able to cut into the lead by getting to the line and connecting on both free throws with 3.1 second left.
To open the fourth, Sievers hot hand drained another deep three. Evansville continued to score and apply strong defense to a tiring Prospects team. At 5:36 left in the game, Evansville slowed it down to take full advantage of a ten-point lead. With just over three minutes left, guard Mario Barnes, one of Evansville stronger defenders fouled out. Prospects seized the opportunity and went on a run, which included a three point shot by Daniel Ramser, a drive from Brent Kidwell and another field goal by Ramser.
Prospects cut the lead to four with 1:40 left in the game. After Evansville scored, Chris Thieneman of Prospects hit from deep, cutting the lead to three with 47.4 seconds left. He finished with a team high 16 points. The game was a close one, but in the end, Prospects ran out of gas and Evansville took home the “W.” Final score 77 to 72, Evansville.
Evansville head coach Brent Kell, “ We played a fantastic team…we got in foul trouble early and that hurt. Guys that haven’t been playing stepped up and played hard. We rebounded, we played good defense, we worked the ball, and we set a lot of screens and things worked out for us. We are a small club who had to raise the last $100 dollars just to get here and now we are in the Elite Eight.”