Bruin defense stifles Waldorf to advance to NSAA semis

Bruin defense stifles Waldorf to advance to NSAA semis

Box Score
Tournament Headquarters

BELLEVUE, Neb. -- After holding Waldorf to just 15 second-half points, the top-seeded Bellevue University men's basketball team defeated the eighth-seeded Warriors 60-40 at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center on Wednesday evening in the opening round of North Star Athletic Association Tournament.

The Bruins (18-13, 11-3 NSAA) advance to the NSAA Tournament semifinals where they will meet No. 4-seeded Dickinson State (14-12, 9-5 NSAA) at the Civic Arena in Watertown, S.D. at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23. The Bruins lost both matchups with the Blue Hawks during the regular season, falling 64-62 in Bellevue on Jan. 4 and 72-67 in double overtime at Dickinson on Feb. 8.

Waldorf ends its season with a 6-22 record. 

The winner of the NSAA Tournament will receive an automatic berth to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. on March 6-12.

Justin Bessard led the Bruins with 19 points and six rebounds. Richard Reed added 10 rebounds, five rebounds, four assists, and a pair of steals. 

No Warrior scored in double figures as Gabriel Munoz and Brian Smith paced WU with nine points apiece.  

The Bruin defense held WU to 36 percent shooting on the night, including a 27.3 percent effort from behind the arc. The Warriors shot just one free throw in the contest.  Waldorf's second-leading scorer Brady Kuchinka was held scoreless. 

After Munoz scored on a layup in the first minute of the contest, the Warriors did not hit a bucket over the next five minutes as BU took an early 11-2 lead. A 9-0 BU run gave the Bruins their largest lead of the first half at 32-12 with 7:54 left before intermission. 

The Warriors closed the first half on a 13-4 spurt to climb back to within 11 points at 36-25 at the break.  

Bessard led the Bruins in the opening half with 13 points and three rebounds. Demetrius Martin paced the Warriors with seven points and three assists. 

Waldorf was held scoreless for the first 7:30 of the second half as BU expanded the cushion to 15 points. After getting as close as 10 points, the Bruins used a 13-4 run to push the margin to 19 points before cruising to the 60-40 victory. 

Waldorf shot just 30 percent in the second half and hit 1-of-7 3-point attempts.  

Note: The Bruins are now 3-0 against Waldorf in post-season play. Bellevue defeated the Warriors 55-54 at York in the 2013 MCAC quarterfinals and 82-74 in the 2015 MCAC semifinals at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.