CHICAGO, Ill. -- The University of St. Francis attempted 22 more free throws than the #14 Bellevue University men's basketball team as the Bruins dropped an 83-80 nail-biter on Saturday inside the Goodman Center at the RU Classic.
#14 Bellevue: 3-6
St. Francis: 4-0
Recap: St. Francis 83, Bellevue 80
Neither team led by double-figures in the game with St. Francis holding the largest lead, nine points, at the 12:22 mark of the first half.
After a Lewis Holey layup gave USF a 19-10 lead Bellevue responded by out-scoring the Fighting Saints 30-15 over the next 9:40 to grab their biggest lead of the game, six points, at 40-34.
USF closed the half on a 6-0 run to tie the game at intermission.
The second half was played even tighter with neither team able to get more than two possessions of separation.
Connor Dukes hit threes on back-to-back possessions in a span of 45 seconds to turn a 74-73 deficit into a 79-77 advantage for the Bruins with 1:07 left in the game.
After Jordan Thornton missed a three on the ensuing possession Terrion Howard collected the offensive board and after the Fighting Saints worked the ball around Howard sank a three to give USF the lead for good.
After Samson Oyediran made one of two free throws to give USF an 83-80 lead, Bellevue had one last chance to tie the game but BU turned the ball over before they were able to get a shot off.
Richard Reed scored 17 to lead the Bruins while Justin Bessard (13), Sequan Walker (12), and Connor Dukes (11) all joined him with double-digit scoring days. Walker recorded a team-leading eight rebounds for Bellevue and Bessard added six.
Howard led all players with 30 points for the Fighting Saints on 10-of-15 shooting (5-8 3-FG, 5-6 FT) while Holey was the only other USF player in double figures with 13 on the strength of a 9-of-10 effort from the charity stripe to go along with his game-high 10 rebounds.
USF out-shot BU at the foul line, going 30-of-35 while the Bruins made 11-of-13 attempts.
The Bruins out-shot the St. Francis 50.8-45.1 percent from the floor and held advantages in both second chance points (16-11) and points in the paint (42-21).
Bellevue takes the hardwood next weekend with a pair of games at the Draemel Classic, hosted by Midland University. BU plays #4 Morningside College on Saturday at 2 p.m. and squares of with host Midland Sunday at 3 p.m.