Cardenas leads BU to upset over No. 20 Midland, 77-74

Mike Cardenas led the Bruins with 26 points and was 6-of-7 from behind the arc.
Mike Cardenas led the Bruins with 26 points and was 6-of-7 from behind the arc.

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BELLEVUE, Neb. -- Senior Mike Cardenas scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Bellevue University men's basketball team to a 77-74 upset over 20th-ranked Midland University Thursday night in the Bellevue University Fairfield Inn & Suites Holiday Classic at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center. 

The Bruins, who lost to Midland, 78-72 on Nov. 12, improved to 10-7 on the season. Midland fell to 10-5 overall. 

Cardenas drilled 6-of-7 3-pointers and was 6-of-6 was the free throw line. Jerred Cook registered 14 points and three assists and BJ Shelton finished with 12 points and a pair of rebounds.

Nick Wood (17), Diamontae McKinley (16), and Alex Starkel (15) combined for 48 points to pace the Warrior offense.  

Capped by five-straight points from Cardenas, the Bruins used an 18-4 run to grab a 26-15 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the first half.  

After a pair of Jaffery Stillman free throws gave BU a nine-point advantage, MU scored the final four points of the half to close to within five points at 35-30 at the break. 

Cardenas led the Bruins in the opening half with 11 points, including three 3-pointers. Jalen Hall added seven points and a pair of assists. 

Ryan Williams paced the Warriors with nine points in the opening half.

Midland closed to within a point at 38-37 following a 3-point play by McKinley with 17:44 remaining in the game. A McKinley 3-pointer gave the Warriors their first lead of the second half at 42-40 at the 16:11 mark. 

A 16-8 BU run put the Bruins up by seven at 61-54 at the nine-minute mark.

The Bruins maintained a seven-point advantage following a 3-pointer by Cardenas with 5:23 remaining in the game. Neither team scored for nearly three minutes and BU held a six-point lead at the 1:19 mark before Midland closed the gap to one point with a 6-1 run to make it 75-74 with eight seconds remaining.   

After Cardenas nailed a pair of free throws, Diamonte missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, to make the final, 77-74. 

The Bruins will conclude the tournament on Friday, Dec. 30, with a 5 p.m. contest at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center against second-ranked University of St. Francis (Ind.).