The Manhattan Christian College men’s basketball team split a pair of weekend games in Nebraska. The Crusaders defeated Grace University on Friday night, 59-56, before falling to Bellevue University, 95-59, on Saturday.
Friday’s game against Grace was a region contest for the Crusaders and MCC got off to a strong start, opening up a 20-8 lead with about 12 minutes left in the half. From that point, MCC would struggle offensively and at halftime, led 27-26.
The second half went back and forth, with MCC taking a 48-47 lead with 5:30 to play and stretching its advantage to 55-51 with 2:40 left, but Grace would score the next four points to tie the score at 55 with 1:19 remaining.
The Crusaders had the ball with 47 seconds left and two seconds on the shot clock with the ball on the side and Will Chisam was able to convert a basket just before the shot clock expired to give MCC the 57-55 lead. On the ensuing possession, Grace was fouled but converted only one free throw to make it a one-point game.
Grace fouled MCC with 16 seconds left, but MCC missed the front-end of the one-and-one and Grace had an opportunity to take the lead. MCC was able to get a stop defensively and Chisam came up with the rebound and was fouled with 2 seconds left. He hit both free-throws to seal the victory for MCC.
Devin Ruis led MCC with 12 points off the bench, while David Frost chipped in with 11 points and Chisam added 10 points. MCC lost leading scorer Sage Ruis early in the second half to a foot injury, which prevented him from playing on Saturday.
Saturday, MCC took on Bellevue University, which is currently ranked No. 15 in the NAIA Div. II poll. MCC hung tough with the Bruins for the first 12 minutes of the game, trailing 26-24, but Bellevue went on a 14-0 run that gave them a big lead and created a 47-31 halftime deficit for the Crusaders.
In the second half, MCC got as close as 54-41, but again the Bruins went on a run, this time a 23-6 run that blew the game open. The loss snapped MCC’s four-game winning streak and dropped the Crusaders to 5-6 on the season. Chisam had another strong game, scoring 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting and pulling down seven rebounds. Lonnie Penner added 14.
MCC will be at home on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against Union College for its final home game of the semester.