MNU hands Bellevue first loss

Blake Wilder led BU with 13 points and 8 rebounds on Friday evening
Blake Wilder led BU with 13 points and 8 rebounds on Friday evening

OLATHE, Kan. -- Unable to slow down the hot-shooting Pioneers the No. 4 Bellevue University men's basketball team suffered their first loss of the season, falling 90-66 to host and 18th-ranked (NAIA Division I) MidAmerica Nazarene on Friday evening in the championship game of the Jeff Uphaus Memorial Classic at the Bell Family Arena.

The loss drops Bellevue to 3-1 on the season while MidAmerica Nazarene is off to a 2-0 start to their season. The two teams will meet again on Friday, Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. in the Fairfield Inn & Suites Holiday Classic at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.

From the start MNU controlled the game as the Pioneers scored the first nine points of the night and built a 17-point lead, 23-6, just past the midway point of the first half. The Bruins played it even for the remainder of the half but MNU took a 43-26 lead into the locker room.

Bellevue got as close as 11 in the second half on a bucket by AJ Nolen with 10:28 to play. However, a 12-4 MNU run erased any thoughts of a stunning comeback.

Jonathan Green was virtually unstoppable for the Pioneers and he scored a game-high 34 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the floor (2-4 3-FG) and 10-of-12 shooting from the free throw line. He led the three-headed attack with Camden Chrisman pouring in 19 points and Dante Scroggins going for a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

There were several positives for Bellevue in the game. They committed just 11 turnovers, saw their bench out-score the MNU reserves 34-15, shot a season-best 78.6 percent from the free throw line, and 13 different players scored on the evening.

Blake Wilder led the Bruins with 13 points and eight rebounds.  Jalen Hall chipped in 10 points while AJ Nolen and Brian Stokes scored seven apiece. Brandon Fagins matched Wilder's eight rebounds to share the team lead.

Bellevue's next game will be their home-opener on Tuesday, Nov. 7. The Bruins host Morningside College at 7 p.m. at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.