Bellevue University, the No. 9 team in the NAIA, pulled away for a 78-51 men’s basketball win over No. 20 Concordia on Thursday evening. The host Bruins improved to 9-2 on the year with the win. Concordia dropped to 8-3 with the loss.
Concordia got off to a nice start and held the lead for the first several minutes of the first half. The Bulldogs struggled from the field, however, and turnovers also proved costly for Concordia as the first half went on. A late surge by Bellevue gave the Bruins a 36-21 lead heading into halftime.
The Bulldogs managed just 9-of-30 (30 percent) shooting in the opening 20 minutes. Concordia was 3-of-15 (20 percent) from long range, and 12 Bulldog turnovers led to 14 points for the Bruins. Concordia attempted just one free throw, while Bellevue was 9-of-12 at the charity stripe in the first half.
Bellevue went 13-of-27 (48 percent) from the field in the opening half of play. The Bruins used their length and athleticism to total eight steals in the half. Ousseynou Diop had 10 points, while Donald Jones chipped in with seven for the Bruins in the first 20 minutes.
The Bruins poured it on in the second half, as the offensive struggles continued for Concordia. The Bulldogs went just 10-of-29 (34.5 percent) from the field in the second half. For the game, Concordia was 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) overall and 8-of-27 (29.6 percent) from deep. The Bulldogs also struggled at the foul line, making just 5-of-14 for 35.7 percent. Concordia finished with 21 turnovers and was outrebounded 41-33.
Sam Huebner (Aurora, Colo.) finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks for the Bulldogs. Tyler Byrd (Bennington, Neb.) added 11 and four assists, while Ryan Shrum (Allen, Texas) scored nine.
Bellevue went 27-of-54 from the field in the win. The Bruins were 3-of-9 from long range and 21-of-30 (70 percent) from the foul line.
The inside combination of Diop and Eugene Bain proved to be too much for Concordia to handle. Diop finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Bain had a strong second half to finish with a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. James Parrott and Jelani Johnson also reached double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Bruins.
Concordia will take part in the Bethel College Classic Tournament beginning on December 31.