OLATHE – Saturday's road match up between the No. 7-ranked Raven Men's Basketball team and the MNU Pioneers lived up to everything that you would expect from a Heart of America Athletic Conference match up in mid-February.
Benedictine (20-6, 9-5 Heart) and MNU (8-15, 7-7 Heart) played through 14 ties and 14 lead changes with the Pioneers holding on late to earn a 67-65 win over the Ravens.
The game played through three ties over the first five minutes before Benedictine outscored MNU 11-4 over the next five minutes to take their largest lead of the half at seven points.
MNU battled back and forced two more ties and the game looked to be head into the half tied at 32 before a foul called inside the final second of the half led to three free throw attempts for MNU's Cale Brubacker. He made all three to give the Pioneers a three-point lead at the break.
Jallen Messersmith scored the first three points of the second half to pull the game back even for the sixth time with the first three minutes.
That would set the tone for the second half as neither team was able to pull away or keep a lead for long.
There were a total of eight lead changes in the second half – four for each team – while the game's final 20 minutes saw nine ties.
Benedictine's largest lead of the second half was three points while MNU led by as much as four
After Messersmith pulled the game to it's 17th tie at 63-all with just over one minute remaining, the Pioneers took back over the lead seconds later for good.
Connor Fleming hit one of two free throws with 28 seconds remaining to pull the Ravens within a point only to have MNU's Aleksander Zivkovic answer with a pair of free throws.
Messersmith finished with 15 points to lead the Ravens in scoring while John Harris Jr. added 13.
The Ravens hosts Graceland University at 7:30 p.m. Thursday inside the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium. Thursday night marks the annual Breast Cancer Awareness games with fans encouraged to wear pink in support of the Ravens and then fight against Breast Cancer.