February 21, 2012
Benedictine Shoots Down Aurora
Courtesy of Benedictine University
LISLE, Ill. - The Benedictine University men's basketball team kicked off the postseason with an 86-83 victory over Aurora University in the opener of the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament at the Rice Center on Tuesday night.
Benedictine came out of the gates ready to roll, leaping ahead by eight points after hitting four threes including two from Alex Edmondson. The Eagles held advantages of 16-8 at the 15:48 mark and 18-10 with 14:34 to play in the half. Aurora marched back to within 20-19 on a jumper from Kyle Pilmer before five straight distanced the lead to 25-19. The Spartans responded with eight straight to jump ahead 27-25 on a tip-in by Ryan Crow, who scored 17 points in the first half.
Neither team led by more that two the remainder of the half. Andy Crutchfield hit a three just before the halftime buzzer to put Benedictine in front 49-47. The Eagles knocked down 10 threes and shot 57.1 percent in the electric first half which featured five ties and 19 lead changes. Aurora shot 51.2 percent from the field.
After a tight start to begin the second half, Benedictine embarked on a 9-2 run finished by a pair of free throws from Nate Green to take a 69-61 lead with 12:25 to play. The advantage extended to nine with 5:39 left on a tip-in from David Bernard. Aurora's Joel Iventosch nailed a triple to pull the visitors within two with just 1:44 to play. Green hit a key jumper with the shot clock ticking down to make it a four point game.
A turnover with :30 left allowed Aurora life trailing 84-81. The Spartans missed a pair of threes to tie before a Ryan Crow flush with :05 left brought Aurora to within 84-83. Two free throws from Michael Woolf sealed the victory as an Esteban Vega half court attempt to tie banged off the glass.
Green led all scorers with 27 points and also distributed seven assists. Michael Woolf hit three treys and netted 15 while Jamison Mongtomery added 12 off the bench. David Bernard snared 11 rebounds. Benedictine shot a season high 53.6 percent from the field. The game featured seven ties and 25 lead changes overall.
Benedictine (13-13) has won six straight against Aurora (13-13), sweeping all three meetings the past two seasons and ending the season for the Spartans in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament the last two years.
Benedictine keeps its tournament title defense alive and will try to avenge a loss from earlier this season when Edgewood College visits the Rice Center in the semifinals on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.