Three simple words from coach Shane Paben described the effort the Bellevue University basketball team put forth in Saturday’s 103-65 over Oklahoma Wesleyan.
“This was fun,” the Bruin mentor said after the dominating victory.
No. 12 Bellevue’s victory tied the Bruins with Wesleyan atop the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference standings (each at 7-2) and avenged a loss in Oklahoma a week earlier.
“This was the first game all season we put in 40 minutes,” Paben said. “We want to win the conference and if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to win these games at home.”
Saturday’s outcome was never in doubt as the Bruins (20-5 overall) raced to an early 9-2 lead, led 39-27 later in the first half, then closed out the half on a 10-0 run to build its advantage to 52-31.
Bellevue shot 67 percent (20 of 30) from the floor in the opening half and would shoot a sizzling 68 percent (36 of 53) for the game.
“We wanted to attack the lane and the paint and we were getting a lot of good shots,” Paben said. “Scoring hasn’t been the problem for us, it’s being able to stop people.”
After giving up 90 points to these same Eagles seven days earlier, BU’s defense put the clamps on a team averaging 86 points per night.
“We had a bit of an edge to our team this week in practice,” Paben said. “We wanted to be the aggressor tonight.
“What I liked most was that we never let off the gas. At halftime, I told the guys I wanted to see them playing the second half like it was a tie game.”
Given Kalipinde hit 10 of 15 field goals on his way to a game-high 27 points. He was one of four Bruins to finish in double figures as Thomas Hammock added 15 and Alex Worthen-Harris and Isaiah Strong notched 13 apiece.
Michael Dotson and Kalipinde grabbed six rebounds apiece with Lee Ames handing out four assists.
A crucial week lies ahead for the Bruins, beginning with Tuesday’s home game with third-place Waldorf. Bellevue goes on the road this weekend for games with Central Baptist, Ark. (Friday) and College of the Ozarks Saturday.
“We’re pretty much in a situation where we need to win out if we want to win the conference,” Paben said.
BU opened the weekend with a 115-71 thumping of Haskell Indian Nations Friday evening.
The Bruins drilled a school record 20 3-pointers in notching their highest point total of the season.
Six of those treys came from Hammock, who finished with 18 points. Strong (who nailed five treys) and Ames sparked the attack with 19 apiece and Bailey Sanders added 13 off the bench. Dotson handed out six assists.