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basketball-men-d2 flag | January 9, 2014

Drury suffers first loss in one year

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Third-ranked Drury had trouble keeping its key personnel on the floor thanks to foul trouble as No. 2 Bellarmine snapped the nation's longest active NCAA winning streak at 34 games with an 85-77 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory Thursday night before a sellout crowd of 2,196 at Knights Hall.

The defending NCAA-II champion Panthers (11-1, 3-1 in the GLVC), in losing for the first time in 365 days - since a 72-69 loss at Indianapolis on January 10, 2013 -  turned to their depth to keep it close at the end, but dropped the first game in their past 12 against a ranked opponent.

It also snapped a 17-game winning streak for the Panthers away from the O'Reilly Family Event Center.

Jake Thelen and Keisten Jones finished with 17 points each to lead five Knights in double-figures.

Kameron Bundy scored 18 points and added five assists to lead the Panthers, who saw leading scorer Cameron Adams (12 points in 16 minutes) and starting guard Drake Patterson (no points in 11 minutes) foul out in limited time. Sean Osler also had five fouls, while Ian Carter and DaShaun Stark finished with four each as the Panthers were whistled for 30 fouls.

Bellarmine was called for 29 personals and had three players foul out very late, but Drury's momentum clearly was altered when Adams picked up his third foul on a rebound after blocking out on a missed free throw with 7:38 to go and the Panthers down just 23-17.

No. 1 West Liberty 120, Shepherd 89

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Unbeaten and No. 1-ranked West Liberty urned what was supposed to be a showdown between the Mountain East Conference's top two teams into a rout before a stunned crowd Thursday night at Shepherd's Butcher Center.

Coach Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers (11-0, 7-0) opened the second half with a 14-3 run in the first 2 1/2 minutes and never looked back in racing away to a 120-89 rout of the second-place Rams (10-3, 5-2).

Shepherd, which had been receiving votes in the NCAA Division II top 25 until being upset at Notre Dame (OH) on Saturday, traded leads with the Black and Gold during the early going as the Hilltoppers came out cold.

West Liberty leads the nation in scoring and 3-point field goals but came up empty on its first 10 3-point shots and didn't make one from behind the arc until Seger Bonifant drained one at the 7:31 mark of the opening half to break the ice and put WLU on top by a 26-24 count. The Hilltoppers never trailed again.

A Morgan McDonald basket for Shepherd forged the game's final tie 26-26 at the 7:19 mark but that was it for the hosts.

West Liberty went ahead to stay on a quick jumper by Kelvin Goodwin at 7:03 and the Hilltopper press forced back-to-back turnovers to set up consecutive 3-point bombs by Bonifant and freshman Devin Hoehn in an 18-second span.

No. 8 Southern Indiana 81, Missouri S&T 69

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Southern Indiana survived a comeback bid by Missouri S&T and posted an 81-69 victory Thursday evening in the Physical Activities Center. USI rises to 11-0 overall and 3-0 in the GLVC, while Missouri S&T falls to 5-7 overall, 0-4 GLVC.

The Screaming Eagles started strong offensively and defensively, outscoring the Miners 29-5, and holding Missouri S&T to 14.2 percent from the field (2-for-14) through the first 12 minutes. Missouri S&T, however, would fight its way back into the game with a 26-11 run and cut the USI advantage to nine points 40-31 by the intermission.

The Eagles' offense would roll for the four minutes and post their largest leads of the second half, 14 points, twice, including a 60-46 margin with 9:38 left to play. Missouri S&T did not back down and used a 16-6 dash to cut the USI's advantage to four points 66-62 with 5:04 to play.

USI finished the game the way it started the contest with a strong 15-7 run in the final five minutes to put the evening into the win column 81-69. USI senior forwards Orlando Rutledge and Aaron Nelson sealed the victory with a combined five free throws down the stretch.

The free throws in the two minutes capped off a monster double-double for Nelson. He posted a 20-20 game with 24 points and 23 rebounds to lead four Eagles in double-figures. The double-double was Nelson's USI-record 11th in a row.