Cardenas leads Bruins over No. 25 IU-East, 97-78

Mike Cardenas finished with a career-high 24 points.
Mike Cardenas finished with a career-high 24 points.

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BELLEVUE, Neb. -- Junior Mike Cardenas poured in a career-high 24 points to lead the Bellevue University men's basketball team to a 97-78 victory over No. 25-ranked Indiana University-East Tuesday night in the Fairfield Inn Holiday Classic at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.

With the win, the 13th-ranked Bruins improved to 12-5 on the season. The RedWolves dropped to 9-7 overall.

Cardenas was 7-of-12 from the field, nailing four 3-pointers while sinking all six of his free throw attempts. TeShon Burton collected 18 points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists in the victory.

Carl Robinson was the third Bruin in double figures, finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds and a game-high seven assists.

Huston Clark, Vasha Davis and Lucas Huffman each recorded 14 points to pace the IUE offense. 

Burton (13) and Cardenas (11) combined for 24 points in the first half as both connected on three 3-pointers as BU built a 50-37 halftime advantage. The Bruins hit 7-of-14 shots from behind the arc in the opening half and led by as many as 16, holding the RedWolves to 47.1 percent shooting, including just 2-of-11 on 3-point attempts.

Clark led IUE in the first period with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.

After building a 16-point advantage early in the second half, the RedWolves battled back, cutting the deficit to single digits at 66-57 following a 3-point play by Parker Salinas at the 11:53 mark. 

Bellevue responded with five-straight and IUE never got closer than 10 points the remainder of the contest as the Bruins pulled away for the 97-78 victory, ending the game on a 25-16 run. 

The Bruins outshot IUE 51.6 to 46 percent and held a 38-37 edge in total rebounds. Bellevue scored 19 points off turnovers and led by as many as 23 points in the second half. 

The Bruins will conclude the tournament on Wednesday (Dec. 30) with a 5 p.m. game against Hastings College.