No. 8 Bruins edge Mustangs, 86-79

No. 8 Bruins edge Mustangs, 86-79

CONWAY, Ark. -- The eighth-ranked Bellevue University men's basketball team outscored Central Baptist College 11-4 in the final four minutes to post an 86-79 road win at AR Reddin Fieldhouse Saturday night in Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference action.

Bellevue has won 18 of its last 19 games and conclude the regular season with a 25-5 overall record and a first place finish in the MCAC with a 13-1 mark. The Bruins have now won five of the last six conference regular season titles, as well as the last two tournament titles. Central Baptist, who is in its first year in the MCAC, ends its season at 8-22 and 4-10 in league play.

Richard Shepherd led four Bruin players in double-figures, recording 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Jelani Johnson, James Parrott and Austin Bowen each tallied 14 points apiece. Johnson led BU on the glass with nine rebounds.

The Bruins shot just 39.2 percent from the field with five 3-pointers while CBC made 41.7 percent of its shots. BU held a slight edge in rebounds, 41-37.  

The Bruins scored the game's first six points on back-to-back 3-pointers by Jeremy Arrington as BU led 40-33 at halftime. Arrington paced BU with nine points in the opening half. Trailing 28-21 with 9:22 remaining, the Mustangs used an 8-3 spurt to trim the Bruins' lead down to two, 31-29, but BU scored nine of the final 13 first half points to take the seven-point lead at intermission.

CBC opened the second half by outscoring BU 13-7 to cut the Bruins' lead down to 49-47 five minutes into the period. The Bruins went on a 20-7 run to take their biggest lead of the game, 69-54, with 9:23 remaining, but the Mustangs onced again responded with a 21-6 run of the their own to tie the game at 75-all with under four minutes remaining.

The two teams would exchange baskets the remainder of the game. A Johnson jumper gave BU an 80-77 advantage with just over one minute left. The Mustangs made just one of their two free throws on their next possession and a Bowen field goal and four BU free throws allowed the Bruins to escape with the seven-point conference road win.

The Mustangs were led by Gavin McDaniel's game-high 27 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bruins will host the MCAC Tournament Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25 at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center. Visit BUBruins.com for a complete tournament schedule and game times.