BELLEVUE, Neb. -- The Bellevue University men's basketball team used a 20-5 run in the opening minutes, and never trailed, as they knocked off #22 College of the Ozarks in their second game of the Fairfield Inn & Suites Holiday Classic.
Bellevue has now won four of five to improve to 9-7 on the season while Ozarks falls to 10-5 on the season.
The Bruins took their largest lead at 17 points, 22-5, at the 13:40 mark of the first half before Ozarks began slowly chipping away before halftime. A three-pointer from Brandt Cochran with 3:20 to play saw the gap closed to 12 points, 40-28, before the Bruins took a 43-28 lead into the break. BJ Shelton led all scorers with 13 points in the first half.
After a Blake Wilder layup to open the second half, CofO went on a 23-8 spurt to close to within two points, 53-51, with 12:57 to go. Two free throws from Richard Reed and four-straight points from Nick Hilton saw Bellevue push the lead back to eight points. The Bruins stretched the lead to 10 with 6:56 left on a pair of free throws from Jalen Hall.
Calvin Allen hit a jumper with 26 seconds to go to bring Ozarks with one possession, 69-66, but two free throws from Austin Moore and another from Jaffery Stillman effectively put the game away in the waning seconds.
Shelton paced four Bruins in double-figures with 17 points. Hall (13), Reed (12), and Hilton (10) joined him. Stillman led all players with 10 rebounds off the bench.
Ethan Davidson led all scorers with 18 points for College of the Ozarks. He was supported offensively by Cochran (14 points, 6 assists) and Canyon Smith (11). Davidson and Heath Carmichael shared high-rebounding honors for the Bobcats with eight apiece.
Ozarks out-shot BU from the field, 47.2 to 41.1 percent, but coughed up 17 turnovers leading to 29 Bellevue points. Bellevue converted on 21-of-27 free throw attempts while Ozarks was just 11-of-16 from the stripe.
Bellevue controlled play in the paint with a 36-24 scoring advantage over the Bobcats.
Bellevue resumes NSAA play next weekend with games against Valley City State (Friday, 7:30 p.m.) and Jamestown (Saturday, 5 p.m.).