BELLEVUE, Neb. -- Justin Bessard scored 15 points to lead a balanced Bruin offense as the Bellevue University men's basketball team went above the .500 mark for the first time this season with a 58-50 victory over Waldorf University Saturday night at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.
With the victory, Bellevue improved to 12-11 on the season and 6-1 in the NSAA. Waldorf dropped to 5-14 overall and 1-5 in conference play.
Bessard was joined in double figures by Sequan Walker, who finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Richard Reed and Stephen Matthews each finished with nine points and Connor Dukes chipped in with eight points, along with four rebounds.
Demitrius Martin paced the Warriors with 19 points and eight rebounds. Melvin Martin added 11 points, three boards, and a pair of assists. Brady Kuchinka was the third Warrior in double figures, finishing with 10 points. Khalid Manney nearly recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds and eight points.
The Bruins raced out to an early 18-8 lead following consecutive layups by Walker. After BU built a 12-point advantage, D. Martin scored six-straight points to pull the Warriors to with six at 25-19 with 1:27 left in the opening period. A free throw by Matthews made it 26-19 at the intermission.
Both teams struggled from the field in the first half, with BU holding a 40 to 33.3 percent edge in field goal percentage. Walker, Matthews, and Bessard each scored seven points to lead BU in the opening 20 minutes.
Only three Warriors scored in the first half, with D. Martin leading the way with 12 points and five rebounds.
Neither team could establish control in the second half as the BU lead hovered between four and nine points the entire period. The depleted Waldorf squad traded baskets with the Bruins and would not go away as BU used a 3-pointer by Dukes and a pair of free throws by Jaron Dickson to take a 56-47 lead with 37 seconds left in the contest.
After a 3-pointer by M. Martin brought WU to within six at 56-50, Dukes drained two free throws to make it a three-possession game at 58-50 with 20 seconds remaining. A Warrior turnover sealed the eight-point victory for the Bruins.
The two squads will play each other again next Friday, Jan. 25 in a 7:30 p.m. contest in Forest City, Iowa.