The No. 23-ranked Central Methodist University Eagles used a 71.4 percent effort from the floor in the second half to hold off a late push by the Raven Men's Basketball team inside the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium.
After leading at the half by two points, Benedictine (6-2, 4-1 Heart) was outscored by five points by CMU (6-1, 4-1 Heart) as the Eagles earned the 81-78 win over the Ravens.
Trailing by five points inside the final 90 seconds of the game, the Ravens worked their way back within a possession several times and had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer on a 3-pointer from Thomas O'Connor.
In a match up of teams not that far apart in the Preseason NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Poll, the game went back and forth like one would expect. There were eight lead changes and seven ties as CMU led early before Benedictine worked back in front by as much as five points before taking a 33-31 lead into the half.
The Ravens used a 46.7 percent effort from the floor over the first half but managed to get to the free throw line just two times over the first 20 minutes of play.
Four lead changes inside the first four minutes of the second half saw Benedictine eventually build as much as a seven point lead off a 3-pointer from Wills Wallrapp near the midpoint of the second half to push the Ravens ahead of the Eagles 59-52.
CMU regained their lead with just over seven minutes in the game and never gave it back. Benedictine pulled even with CMU at 66-all on a basket in the paint from Jake Schannuth but the Ravens couldn't push through to take over the lead.
The Ravens finished the game knocking in 50 percent from the floor while the Eagles finished at 55.1 percent for the game after connecting on 15 of 21 from the floor in the second half. The Eagles also went the charity stripe 24 times in the second half, knocking in 18 while the Ravens only attempted nine free throws in the second half, knocking in four.
Benedictine finished with three players in double figures, led by the 15-point effort of AJ Goss. Schannuth added 14 while CJ Vallejo finished with 13. The Ravens won the bench scoring battle, 22-7, as Kyle Harrison and Wallrapp finished with 9 and 7 points respectively. The also outscored the Eagles 42-34 in the paint.
The Ravens return to the road on Thursday as they travel to Olathe to take on No. 8 MNU at 7:30 p.m.