Story by Benedictine College Sports Information Office
ATCHISON, Kan. - In an early-season battle of top 15-ranked NAIA Div. I programs, the No. 13-ranked Benedictine (Kan.) College men's basketball team handed No. 1 Columbia (Mo.) College its first loss of the season en route to its 10th-straight win, 73-59.
"Defensively, this is probably the best effort all season," said Benedictine head coach Ryan Moody. "This can't be a shining moment of the season. It was a great win but it has to be a springboard. This is just one more step."
The win pushes Benedictine's overall record to 10-1 as the Ravens have now rattled off 10-straight wins after dropping their season opener back on Nov. 1. The loss by Columbia moves the Cougars overall record to 9-1 and snaps a 16-game win streak by Columbia over Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) opponents. Columbia, a member of the American Midwest Conference (AMC) had four wins this season against HAAC opponents.
Columbia entered the game on Wednesday as the top shooting team in NAIA Div. I, knocking in an average of 55.6 percent from the floor this season. After hitting 50 percent in the first half, Benedictine limited Columbia to just 9 second half field goals as the Cougars finished at 39.6 percent.
Columbia also entered the game with a No. 9 ranking from beyond the arc. Through nine games the Cougars had converted on 43.6 percent of their 3-pointers. Wednesday, the Ravens limited them to a 6 for 20 effort as they finished the game at 30 percent.
The Cougars jumped ahead of the Ravens early, building a six-point lead three times over the first five minutes of the game. Benedictine gradually started to warm up offensively and pulled even twice by the midpoint of the first half.
After John Harris Jr., tied the game at 24 with six minutes and 28 seconds left in the first half, the Ravens took their first lead on a Jallen Messersmith basket with five minutes remaining before half.
It was a lead that Benedictine never gave up, as they pulled ahead 37-31 at the break.
The two teams went back in forth to start the second half but Benedictine remained in the lead.
Columbia's Wendell Crowder pulled the Cougars within two points with nine minutes and 22 seconds left in the game before Benedictine outscored Columbia 19-9 over the next six minute to push their lead to 10 points.
Benedictine held Columbia to just three more points over the final three minutes of the game as they pushed ahead to earn the 14-point win.
Benedictine's Charlie Wallrapp led all scorers with 21 points while pulling down 11 rebounds. Messersmith anchored the Ravens off the bench with 15 points while Harris Jr. added 14.
"It was an amazing opportunity to make a statement nationally," Wallrapp said. "This certainly boosts our confidence level. They were a talented group."
Columbia was led in scoring by Devin Griffin's 18 points off the Cougar bench.