By Matt Bos, Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo.- (box score) In a rematch of a second round game from the 2011 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship, the Saint Francis (Ind.) Cougars turned away the Bellevue Bruins (Neb.) by a 61-58 decision to advance to the quarterfinal round on Saturday.
The Cougars were in control from the start, taking a 34-19 lead at the half. The lead grew to 17 points when Scott Kohne opened the half with a basket. The next ten minutes belonged to the Bruins as they outscored Saint Francis 19-4 and were down 40-38 with 10:23 left. The Bruin comeback continued as the teams swapped buckets up to the 6:26 mark when an Austin Bowen basket tied it at 50-50.
Bellevue scored two more unanswered baskets to hold a 54-50 lead with 5:21 and looked poised to pull off the come-from-behind win but the Cougars had a comeback in them of their own. Kevin Dawson converted two free throws for Saint Francis and a three-pointer by Kevin Bloom pushed the Mid-Central College Conference member ahead by one, 55-54. Q Owens eventually sealed it with free throws with 00:10 left for a 61-58 lead and Bellevue didn't get a shot off to tie it at the buzzer.
Saint Francis was 21-45 from the floor and a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line. Scott Kohne had 18 points and ten rebounds to lead Saint Francis while Q Owens added 17 and was 10-10 from the charity stripe. Saint Francis had a 32-27 rebounding advantage. This was the second seeded opponent Saint Francis has eliminated from the tournament. The Cougars were winners over No. 10 Jamestown (N.D.) on Thursday and Bellevue was No. 7 in the field.
Bellevue was paced by Austin Bowen off the bench with 13 points while Richard Shepherd and James Parrott converted for 12 each. The Midlands Collegiate Conference champion was 26-61 from the floor and 3-6 on free throws.
Bellevue ends the season with a 28-6 record while Saint Francis is 23-12 going into the quarterfinal round on Saturday against the winner of the Oregon Tech and Warner (Fla.) contest.