HUNTINGTON, Ind. -- The #14 Bellevue University men's basketball team clamped down defensively in the second half allowing just 29 points after the intermission as they defeated the University of Northwestern Ohio 81-66 on Friday evening at Platt Arena in the Ness Bros. Hall of Fame Tournament, hosted by Huntington University.
#14 Bellevue: 3-3
Northwestern Ohio: 1-3
Recap: #14 Bellevue 81, Northwestern Ohio 66
After allowing the first four points Bellevue looked to be the better team early on, building to a seven-point lead on a basket from Justin Bessard with 12:46 to go in the first half.
The Bruins stayed at least two possessions ahead, building their lead to as many as 12 on a three from Brian Stokes at the 6:56 mark.
Trailing by 10 points, 34-24 with 4:16 to play, Justin Koepp scored a put-back to key a 13-5 Racer run to close the half. UNOH had a chance to take the lead at the buzzer but Keopp's three-pointer was no good and the Bruins clung to a 39-37 lead at the break.
Bellevue used a 17-5 run early in the second half to turn a tie game into a 56-44 BU advantage with in a 6:09 span. Sequan Walker began the run with a trey at the 18:57 mark and capped the spurt with a basket at the 12:48 mark.
UNOH got as close as five on a bucket from Zach Montes with 5:50 remaining but could trim the Bruin lead no further. Bellevue scored 15 of the final 20 points to secure the victory.
Bessard dropped in a season-high 20 points off the bench to lead four Bruins in double figures. Walker (16) along with Josh Lindsey-Hunter (10) and Stephen Matthews (10) each joined him in scoring 10 or more.
Montes led three Racers in double figures with a team-best 13 points. Nathan Lessing and Ladji Samoura chipped in 12 and 11, respectively, and Koepp tossed in eight points and pulled down a team-leading seven rebounds.
Bellevue edged UNOH the glass, holding a 41-40 rebounding advantage. They were led by Meier's 10 boards, the fourth time this season he's hit double digits. Bessard added nine and Richard Reed contributed six.
Bellevue's game time and opponent will be determined following the conclusion of the second game of the Ness Bros. Hall of Fame Tournament between Huntington and East-West.