Evans scores 32 for USF, but Cougars fall at home

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Despite 32 points from Trevon Evans and 20 by Drew Guebert, the University of Sioux Falls Men's Basketball Team (13-5, 8-4 NSIC) had a five-game winning streak end in a 75-70 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference cross-division loss to Minot State (7-13, 3-9 NSIC) at the Stewart Center on Saturday night.

With the setback, the Cougars dropped into a second place tie in the NSIC South standings at 8-4 with Minnesota State and Augustana.

Evans, the two-time reigning NSIC South Division Player of the Week, hit 13-of-24 field goals, including 5-of-9 from three point range for 32 points, which was his second best total of the season. He has scored 26 points or more in seven of the last night games. A senior from Wichita, Kan., he now has 1,044 career points in 47 career games at USF. Evans is averaging over 25 points a game in league play and now has 29, 20-point games in his career. He also had four rebounds, a block and a steal in 38 minutes.

Guebert, who improved his career total to 1,750 points (fourth all-time at USF), hit 8-of-17 field goals and 2-of-6 from three point range while grabbing four rebounds with three assists and two blocks. He had his 83rd game in double-digit points and 36th game of 20 points or more in his career.

While USF's All-NSIC tandem was providing a lot of points, Minot State was sizzling from the field. For most of the night, they shot nearly 60 percent from the field and finished at 53.8 percent on 28-of-52 shooting overall. MiSU, which had a double of 30 points and 10 rebounds from David Akibo, hit 5-of-16 shots from three-point range and 14-of-18 from the foul line.

USF captured the rebound advantage for the 18th straight game this year with a 37-29 margin, including a 14-to-4 margin on the offensive glass. However, USF hit 28-of-61 shots from the field for 45.9 percent and 7-of-18 from three-point range for 38.9 percent. The problem for USF was at the foul line as they made just 7-of-16 foul shots and missed the front end of three one and ones in the second half.

Evans and Guebert opened the game with five points and each hit a three-ball as the Cougars took a 10-8 lead with 16:38 to play. The Beavers responded with a 13-to-7 run to take a 21-17 advantage as Akibo found the range early with 11 points in the opening eight minutes. At the 11:32 mark, Evans knocked in a second three as the Cougars draw within 23-20.

After MiSU took a 29-22 lead, Austin Slater hit a three and Guebert had a tip-in at the 6:30 mark to cut the lead to 31-27. With a foul shot from Justin Taylor, the Cougars drew within 34-30 with 4:44 to play. Then, Grinde converted off a fast break to cut lead to 34-32 with 4:11 to play. Over the next four minutes, MiSU had an 8-4 advantage and took a 42-36 lead to halftime.

In an opening half with eight lead changes, USF had a 20-to-16 edge of points in the paint and 9-to-0 in second chance books but Minot State shot 65.4 percent (17-of-26) to hold the lead. USF, which had 12 points from Evans and 10 by Guebert, hit 15-of-32 field goals for 46.9 percent.

Early in the third quarter, Akibo had five straight points, including a three-point play, as the Beavers took a 47-36 lead. Guebert answer with a three but Akibo and Kody Dwyer had baskets and MiSU led, 51-39 with 14:57 to play. At that point, Evans took over as he scored nine straight points for USF, which closed within 53-48 with 13:27 to play.

Later, Evans made a lay-up and Austin Slater, who had six points and five rebounds before fouling out, added two foul shots to cut the MiSU advantage to 60-59 with 9:55 to play. Yet, each time USF drew close, MiSU had the answer by Akibo or Kyle Beisch, who finished with 21 points.

A three by Beisch at the 9:40 mark was answered by Evan's three at the 8:27 mark as USF trailed, 63-62. Then, Akibo had a basket and Max Cody hit a pair of foul shots as MiSU led, 67-62. Once again, Evans and Guebert led USF back as they close within 69-67 on a three by Evans. It was as close as USF would get in the second half as Akibo made two foul shots with eight seconds to play for a 73-69 lead.

Next for USF will be a road trip to Upper Iowa and Winona State on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26.