Defense, late free throws lift Broncos in upset over No. 13 Bellevue

“The difference in the two games – (tonight) we executed down the stretch.”

BELLEVUE – The Hastings College Men’s Basketball team faced a familiar foe on Wednesday night in the last game of the Bellevue Classic. That team was No. 13 Bellevue University. Instead of dwelling on that 92-86 loss to Bellevue in the York Classic earlier in the season, Hastings used that familiarity to their advantage tonight, the second time around.

“They’re (Bellevue University) just a good basketball team. They can hurt you in so many ways,” Head Coach Bill Gavers said. “The difference in the two games – (tonight) we executed down the stretch.”

The Broncos executed early and often and pulled off the upset over No. 13 Bellevue University 93-89 on Wednesday night.

Hastings stormed out to a lead early in the first half, thanks to five quick points form Senior Kendall Ferguson. Ferguson nearly had a double double in the first half, and managed to lead all scorers on the night with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow senior, Delquan Thomas, added 19 points and four rebounds of his own.

Gavers was impressed with how both seniors played saying, “Kendall has been consistent all year. He’s just been great, he’s always focused and he’s a student of the game,” he said. “Delquan came in and played so well that we stayed with him.”

Gavers was especially happy for Thomas, considering how much he has been through since joining the program before last season.

“I’m happy for Delquan. Delquan has been through a lot. He tore his ACL last year and he’s missed a lot of time with us and to be able to be called on was big,” Gavers said. “Tonight he stepped up big in a big environment. I’m happy for him.”

Both Ferguson and Thomas played big roles in the Broncos amassing a 49-38 halftime lead.

Bellevue responded after halftime and managed to trim the Bronco lead to one with 9:05 left in the second half. Juniors TeShon Burton and Bobby Fisher played a big part in the Bruins’ second half comeback. Burton finished with 17 points and three assists, while Fisher added eight points and four rebounds of his own.

Both teams traded baskets and turnovers for the next few minutes, before Hastings found the spark they needed. That spark came in the form of a taken charge by Sophomore Drew Callaghan. That charge, followed by a three-pointer from Sophomore Connor Musiel, put the Broncos up 86-83 with just over two minutes remaining.

Both teams once again traded turnovers, before Burton made a jumper to cut the Bronco lead to one with less than a minute remaining.

Senior Carson Blum was fouled and made both free throws. Two possessions later, Blum made two more free throws extending the Bronco lead to three with 16.9 remaining. The very next possession, Junior Rich Williams forced a Bruin turnover with 3.4 seconds remaining, which gave Hastings the ball with a chance to ice the game. Ferguson made one of two free throws and the Broncos hung on to win 93-89.

Gavers praised not only Blum’s, but his whole team’s ability to play with confidence late in the game.

“Carson is a leader, a great kid who puts in the time and work in and has extreme confidence in himself and his teammates. To knock both of those down with a one-point lead twice, just says volumes about his preparation and his mindset and toughness, “ Gavers said.

“I’m just really proud of our guys. We had a seventeen-point lead and you knew Bellevue was going to make a run at some point, but we stuck together, kept competing and we got it done in the end.”

Despite the importance of this victory, the Broncos will have little time to celebrate. Hastings will be back in action on January 2 at home against No. 9 Dakota Wesleyan.

 

 

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