BELLEVUE, Neb. -- The 21st-ranked Bellevue University men's basketball team overcame a nine-point first-half deficit and used a key second-half run while hitting 27-of-28 free throws in the second period to pull away for an 89-81 North Star Athletic Association victory Saturday night at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.
The Bruins' won their third-straight contest, improving to 15-7 on the season and 4-1 in the NSAA. Presentation fell to 6-7 overall and 0-3 in league play.
Chris Burton led the Bruins with a career-high 22 points, while adding four rebounds and two blocked shots. Mike Cardenas added 19 points and three boards. Chris Ashanti finished with 17 points, six rebounds and two steals. Olutola Olushola was the fourth Bruin in double figures, registering 12 points.
Donnell Minton led the Saints with 23 points, four rebounds and four assists. Louis Cox added 17 pints, six assists and three rebounds.
A 3-pointer by Cox capped a 14-5 Saints' run as PC grabbed a 22-13 advantage midway through the first half. The Bruins battled back to cut the deficit to one point at 33-32 on a 3-pointer by Cardenas at 4:55, before the Saints pulled away late in the period to take a 39-35 lead at the break.
Bellevue shot just 35.7 percent in the opening period and hit just 1-of-12 on 3-point attempts.
Cox led the Saints in the first half with 12 points and three assists. Burton paced the Bruins with 10 points, while Cardenas added eight points and a pair of rebounds.
After the Bruins tied the game twice early in the second half, a Cardenas 3-pointer gave BU its first lead at 49-48 at the 14:46 mark. The Saints responded and built a five-point edge, before the Bruins used a pivotal 19-5 run to take a 72-63 lead at the 5:28 mark.
Bellevue hit 10-of-11 free throws over the final 2:35 to seal the 89-81 victory.
The Bruins will host Oglala Lakota College next Thursday, Jan. 14, in a 7 p.m. contest at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.