YORK, Neb. - Senior Dimitri Chonis (Tucson, Ariz.) and junior Taylor Young (Hawthorne, Calif.) each scored a team-best 14 points to lead a balanced attack as the No. 9 Bellevue University basketball team withstood a late rally by York College on Saturday evening in Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference action at the Freeman Center.
By virtue of Bellevue's win and Waldorf's loss the Bruins share the 2014/15 MCAC regular season championship with College of the Ozarks. Bellevue and Ozarks will each host the first two rounds of the MCAC Tournament this coming Friday and Saturday. Pairings and game times for the first two rounds will be announced on Monday.
For Bellevue it marks the sixth-straight season that the team has either won outright or shared the MCAC regular season title.
Junior Olutola Olushola (Missouri City, Texas) scored nine points while junior Marquis Aaron (Pittsburg, Calif.) added seven points and six rebounds. Senior Alex Worthen-Harris scored six and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
Bellevue held a 42-40 advantage on the glass and connected on 25-of-30 attempts from the free throw line where they held a 30-6 advantage in attempts from the charity stripe. All ten Bellevue players who saw action on Saturday night scored with eight connecting on multiple field goals.
Daymian Marshall canned a three-pointer with 12:08 remaining in the first half to cap a 10-2 run for York as the Panthers built a 12-9 lead in the early going. Just over a minute later Marshall hit another three to give York a 15-11. The Panthers grabbed their largest lead of the game at 21-15 on a bucket by Cameron Coleman with 7:12 to play.
Six straight points by BU, capped by a basket by Aaron with 3:54 to play, knotted the game at 21-21. Junior Pogos Trunyan (Sacramento, Calif.) canned a trifecta with 1:40 to play to put the Bruins up 28-23 before taking a 28-26 lead into the intermission.
Bellevue started the second half strong by scoring 10 of the first 14 points to take a 38-30 lead on a free throw by Aaron at the 17:30 mark. The Bruins grabbed their largest lead of the game, 44-35, at the 15:10 mark on a basket by senior Thomas Hammock (Compton, Calif.).
The game proved a back and forth affair from their with York slowly chipping away until the Panthers tied things at 52-52 on a bucket by Leldon Love at the 7:40 mark.
With the game tied 59-59, Olushola's shot gave the Bruins a 61-59 edge and they would not look back from there. Bellevue made nine of 12 free throws in the game's final 59 seconds to secure the victory and hold off York for the 71-64 victory.
Unofficial Quarterfinal Pairings:
York at Bellevue
Haskell vs. Waldorf (at Bellevue)
Oklahoma Wesleyan at Ozarks
Central Baptist vs. Central Christian (at Ozarks)