The unseeded Bellevue University men’s basketball team advanced to the second round the 2008-09 NAIA National Tournament with a upset win over No. 10 seed Mount Vernon Nazarene University on Wednesday evening. Bellevue moves to the round of 16 to face the winner of Oregon Tech and Iowa Wesleyan (9:45 p.m.) on Friday (Mar. 13) morning at 10:15 a.m.
Bellevue goes to 23-8 overall as Mount Vernon Nazarene University will conclude their season at 23-9. This was the Bruins’ first-ever meeting against MNVU despite these two teams making a combined 18 appearances. Bellevue is 13-9 all-time at nationals as Mount Vernon will go to 6-8.
After trailing a majority of the first half by as many as 11 in the first half, Bellevue used a 10-0 run to close out the final 2:20 taking a 39-38 lead into intermission. Mount Vernon scored a basket to open the second half giving them a 40-39 lead but that would be the last lead the Cougars would have.
At the 12:28 mark, MVNU scored in the paint pulling to within three (55-52). Kyle Prochaska would get Bellevue’s run started with a layup giving the Bruins a 57-52 advantage. Carlos Bravo (Hartford, Conn.) dropped a field goal at 10:03 giving Bellevue their largest lead of the game at 11 (64-53). In those two and a half minutes, the Bruins outscored MVNU 9-1.
Mount Vernon got to within six (79-73) in the final minute, but Phil McClain connected on two free throws to help push the Bruins into Friday’s second-round.
Bellevue, entering the tournament as the fourth best shooting team in the country, shot 48 percent for the game (31-of-64). The Bruins connected on 46 percent of their deep shots while making 16-of-23 from the foul line. The Bruins defense held one of the country’s best outside shooting teams to 25 percent (6-of-24) and 40 percent for the game.
The Bruin bench outscored the Cougar bench 23-8 and put up 44 points in the paint compared to 33 of MNVU. The Cougars scored 16 points off Bellevue turnovers.