Evansville's fans packed the campus theaters to get a glimpse of the man that would be king. On Tuesday night, Colt Ryan scored nine points to officially become the Purple Ace's all-time leading scorer.
And then he scored 30 more, giving his hometown fans a show from afar. It ended in a 84-83 win for Evansville over Cansius to advance to the semifinals of the CIT.
This was Ryan's show, his top performance of the season, and if the Purple Aces would have lost, it would have been a fitting ending to his impressive career. The senior went 11-for-22 from the floor, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and added 12 free throws to reach his season-high total.
There were six rebounds in there, and two assists. Maybe a steal.
But the show was the net thwacking with every Ryan make. He began the game with 2,228 points, and with two minutes remaining in the first half, he hit a three that cut the Canisius lead to two points, and made him the top scorer in program history.
The record of 2,236 points by Larry Humes had stood since the 1966 season. With the 30 extra ticks Ryan added, this one could last 46 seasons or more.
While it took him 18 minutes to get to the top, he took over in the next 22 minutes, including a stretch where he scored 14 points in a row for the Aces as Evansville worked its way to an eight-point lead. They never trailed after that burst by Ryan.
Evansville will go on to play at East Carolina on Saturday. They will be joined in the CIT semifinals by fellow Missouri Valley upstart Northern Iowa, which defeated Bradley 90-77.
Troy Taylor added 10 points, five rebounds, eight assists and four steals for the Aces. Billy Baron scored 21 for Canisius in the loss.