LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Coming out on the short end of a 29-4 run mid-way through the second half the Bellevue University men's basketball team fell to University of Saint Francis 80-62 in a Top 25 match-up on Friday evening in the Viterbo University Invitational at the R.W. Beggs Sr. Gymnasium.
#22 Bellevue: 4-4
#24 Saint Francis: 9-0
Recap: #24 USF 80, #22 BU 62
Both teams struggled offensively in the early going as they combined to hit on just four of their first 14 field goal attempts and two of six free throws.
Saint Francis led 6-4 at the 13:20 mark before the teams traded layups and the offense picked up.
After Bellevue tied the game at 10-all on a Lewis Hayes layup, USF went on a 12-2 spurt in a span of 4:17 to grab a 10-point lead with 7:00 remaining. A layup by Tyler Smith gave Saint Francis their largest of the first half, 33-21, with 1:40 to play.
Niamey Harris hit a three at the 1:14 mark as Bellevue trailed 33-24 entering halftime.
Out of the break, the Bruins cut the deficit to just six points at the 17:18 mark when Jemeil King sank a three-pointer. However, Bellevue made just one basket over the next 11:16 as USF went on a 29-4 run to pull away from the Bruins.
King led the Bruins with 21 points, eight rebounds, and six assists on the night. Hayes and Harris joined him in double figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Cougars held a significant 40-29 edge on the glass and pulled down 10 offensive boards to BU's three which resulted in a 15-0 advantage in second chance points.
Antwaan Cushingberry led USF with 14 points while Tyler Smith added 11 off the bench as 12 Cougars found their way into the scoring column, including seven players who scored at least six points.
Bellevue wraps up play in the Viterbo University Invitational tomorrow against Calumet College of St. Joseph at 2 p.m.