By Spencer Scheve, Athletic Communications and Media Intern
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – (Box Score) Sixth-seeded Bellevue (Neb.) punched its ticket into the quarterfinal round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship with an 78-76 win over No.7 York (Neb.).
Bellevue will be making its first quarterfinals appearance since 2010 and avenged two prior losses to York during the regular season. The Bruins are 28-7 on the season and will play the winner of No.1 Bethel/No.4 Eastern Oregon at 5pm on Saturday.
In control for the majority of the game, York held its largest lead, 44-28, after scoring the first five points of the second half, finished off with a free throw by Cameron Coleman at the 18:33 mark.
With its season on the brink, Bellevue turned the momentum, going on a 16-4 run to get within four, 48-44. The Bruins drained four three-pointers, two by Michael Cardenas, who made six for the game. Another Cardenas three-pointer gave Bellevue its first lead since the opening minutes (65-64) and a three-pointer by Jerred Cook moments later put the Bruins in front for good.
Cardenas recorded a game-high 24 points and nabbed six rebounds. His backcourt mate, Cook, added 16 with four three-pointers and Nick Hilton added 15, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. Bellevue shot 42% from beyond the arc, making 13-of-31 attempts.
York, the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament champion, was led by Johnny Cooksey with 17 points and Coleman registered a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds. The Panthers close the season with a 25-9 mark.
For more information on the national championship, click here. To watch the live video stream, go to NAIANetwork.com.