Score: Evangel 84, Benedictine 78
Records: Evangel (6-3, 5-0), Benedictine (8-3, 5-2)
Location: Ralph Nolan Gymnasium
ATCHISON, Kan. – Evangel rode a red-hot second-half shooting performance to an 84-78 victory over Benedictine Saturday afternoon at the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium, extending its perfect start to Heart of America Athletic Conference play with its sixth-consecutive win.
In a matchup of two of the Heart's hottest clubs, the Crusaders prevailed thanks to 50-percent effort from the floor and a perfect 17-for-17 showing at the foul line in the second half to hold off a stout challenge from the Ravens and notch their first road victory of the season.
Cade Coffman, who scored 17 second-half points in EU's Nov. 24 win over Graceland, came through again with his 5-for-6 performance that netted 16 points in the second stanza to finish with a game-high 21 points and seven rebounds. Edriel Martinborough led the Crusaders with 13 first-half points before finishing with 19 for the game to go along with a season-high five assists and three steals.
EU finished the game 27-of-60 (0.450) from the field—including 13-of-26 in the second half—and outrebounded the Ravens by a 41-33 margin.
Evangel grabbed control of the lead with an early 11-0 spurt before stretching its advantage to as many as 14 points late in the first half. EU's early string of unanswered points was fueled by back-to-back three-pointers by Martinborough, turning a 7-5 deficit into a 16-7 lead.
BC answered with an 8-0 run of its own, before the Crusaders unleashed a 19-6 outburst on the Ravens, ultimately stretching the margin to 35-21 on another Martinborough bucket with 3:33 left in the half.
Three-point field goals by Matt Austin and Eric Krus helped reduce the BC deficit to 37-32 at the break. But, behind a pair of Coffman three-pointers, the Crusaders delivered another key scoring run early in the second half to regain a nine-point bulge.
EU took a 52-43 lead on a Pritchett bucket with 15:10 left in regulation, before BC struck back with a 10-3 stretch that pulled the Ravens to within a single field goal. Ahmad Louis's three with 10:35 to play made it a 57-56 game, but the Crusaders answered with a 6-0 run, punctuated by a Coffman basket off a Martinborough steal that made it a seven-point game.
Once again, BC pulled out an offensive run to climb back to within a single basket after registering six of the next eight points, making it a 65-62 game on a Jayden Temme free throw with 5:57 to play. Trailing 69-67 with just over four minutes left on the clock, Temme would make one of two free throws to draw BC to within a single point.
But Coffman canned a three to give EU some much-needed breathing room, before Martinborough and Pritchett converted field goal tries on back-to-back possessions to go to extend the cushion to 76-68 with just over two minutes to play.
Chris Stocks was successful on a pair of free-throw attempts with 54 seconds to play, but Krus drilled a trey to pull BC back to within five points.
That would be as close as the Ravens would get, however, as Manrique Alvarado and Martinborough put the game away by going 4-for-4 at the charity stripe over the final 28 seconds.
Pritchett chipped in with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, as well as four assists.
Krus (18 points) and Austin (16 points) combined for 34 points for BC on 8-of-12 shooting from three-point range. Jaiden Bristol added 14 points, while Temme contributed 12 for the Ravens.
The Crusaders continue a three-game road stretch with a Thursday (Dec. 10) Heart Conference contest with Missouri Valley in Marshall.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EUAthletics, Twitter (@EUAthletics), or visit EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the new Evangel Crusaders GamedayApp through Google Play.