Late run pushes Warriors past BU, 87-81

Richard Reed led the Bruins with 21 points and four rebounds.
Richard Reed led the Bruins with 21 points and four rebounds.

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BELLEVUE, Neb. -- Midland University pulled away late in the second half, ending the game on a 22-14 scoring run, en route to an 87-81 victory over Bellevue University in men's basketball action Friday afternoon at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Bruin Classic in the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center. 

Bellevue dropped to 6-10 on the season with the loss. Midland, who avenged a 90-88 loss to BU on Nov. 25, improved to 7-9 overall.  

Richard Reed led four Bruins in double figures, scoring 21 points, to go along with four rebounds. Connor Dukes added a career-high 17 points and seven boards. Justin Bessard was 6-of-8 from the field, finishing with 15 points and three rebounds. Sequan Walker was the fourth Bruin in double figures, adding 14 points while nailing 4-of-8 3-pointers. 

Malik Martin, who scored 50 points in the first contest between the two squads, led the Warriors with 19 points and seven rebounds. Bryce Parsons added 18 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists as five Warriors finished in double figures. 

After Midland scored nine-straight points to take a 25-17 lead midway through the first half, the Bruins battled back to within three, before the Warriors settled for a 40-35 halftime advantage. 

Dukes led BU in the opening half with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field. He also added a team-high four rebounds. Walker added eight points and three assists in the first half. 

MU was led by Parsons' 11 points and six rebounds in the opening 20 minutes of play as the Warriors shot 59.3 percent from the field, compared to BU's 44.8 percent shooting clip.  

Seven-straight points from Reed tied the contest at 48-all with 15:45 left in the contest. The two teams then traded baskets over the next 12 minutes with neither team leading by more than two points until a 3-point play by Martin gave the Warriors a 71-67 lead at the four-minute mark. 

After MU expanded the advantage to seven points following a 3-pointer by Dillon Faubel, three free throws from Bessard brought BU to within four points at 74-70 with 2:40 remaining. 

The Warriors responded with a five-point run expanding the MU cushion to nine points at 79-70 with two minutes left in the game.  After a 3-pointer by Reggie Gradwell gave the Warriors a 10-point cushion at the one-minute mark, the Bruins used a 7-1 scoring run to get to within four points at 85-81 with 10 seconds remaining. 

Martin nailed two free throws to seal the 87-81 victory for the Warriors. 

The Bruins will conclude the tournament on Saturday afternoon with a 3 p.m. matchup against No. 17-ranked College of the Ozarks.