MAYVILLE, N.D. -- BJ Shelton sank six of his seven free throw attempts, including a pair with 28 seconds to go to clinch the game, as the (RV) Bellevue University men's basketball team defeated (RV) Mayville State University 79-74 on Saturday evening in North Star Athletic Association action at the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse.
Eric Staebler scored four-straight points for Mayville to put the hosts up by a point, 71-70, with 2:37 to go to set up a tight finish. Shelton hit a pair of free throws with 1:46 to go to give BU the lead back then, after a Bellevue defensive stop, scored a bucket to put the Bruins up 74-71 with 1:09 to go.
A pair of free throws from Jalen Hall stretched the Bruin lead to five points but Daymarcco Green answered with a three to pull the Comets within two points. Shelton then sank a pair of free throws to restore the two-possession lead and Bellevue hung on for the win with Jaffery Stillman hitting the second of two shots for good measure.
The victory sees Bellevue (19-10, 10-5 NSAA) clinch their ninth-straight conference regular-season title. Mayville State falls to 14-9 overall and 7-7 in NSAA play with their sixth loss in their last seven games.
Mayville State led by as many as seven points in the game's opening minutes but Bellevue closed the half on a 9-4 run to take a 37-36 lead into halftime. It was the first lead for the Bruins since the opening basket of the game.
Cameron Epps and Gorg Alhag comprised the majority of the Mayville State attack in the first half, combining for 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting and going 6-of-6 from the line.
After Hall put BU up 39-36 out of the break the host Comets went on a 10-2 run over a span of 3:59 to grab a 46-42 edge, at the 15:49 mark.
Bellevue tied the game, 56-56, with 11:05 to go on a basket by Shelton before taking their first lead in over 10 minutes on a three by Nick Hilton to go up 63-61 with 8:44 showing on the clock. The lead was short-lived as a pair of free throws from Eric Staebler and a bucket by Daniel Lindgren saw the Comets edge back in front.
Mayville State remained in front until the 5:16 mark when Jaffery Stillman scored for the Bruins to tie things up at 67-67. With 3:44 to go, Bellevue went up 70-67, when Shelton scored and sank a free throw.
Shelton scored a game-high 22 points and pulled down five boards while Hall joined him in double-figures with 10 points. Seven other bruins scored at least five points in the win with Stillman pulling down a game-best nine rebounds.
Epps finished with a team-high 17 points for the Comets with Alhag dropping 15. Staebler scored nine and added eight boards.
The Bruins wrap up the regular-season on Saturday, Feb. 17 with a 5 p.m. tip-off against Dakota State University at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center. Senior Day activities will precede the game.