The Raven Men's Basketball team took it to No. 2 William Penn University from the start on Thursday night as No. 14 Benedictine had upset on their mind.
In the end, William Penn (26-3, 22-3 Heart), sparked by 37 points off the bench, was able to avoid the upset bid by Benedictine (20-9, 17-8 Heart) as they earned a 76-68 win over the Ravens.
Benedictine led for the first eight minutes of the game before William Penn was able to capitalize off a Raven turner to take over the lead at 11-10.
For the rest of the next nine minutes, the teams traded baskets as the margin remained and no more than five points in favor of the Statesmen. William Penn close the half out outscoring Benedictine 8-2 to take a 32-24 lead into halftime.
The Statesmen finished the first half hitting 54.2 percent from the floor while knocking in 6 of 12 3-pointers. The Ravens converted 33.3 percent from the floor but were limited to just 3 of 13 from beyond the arc.
Andre Yates led the Ravens in scoring at the half with 10 points while reigning NAIA Player of the Week Torren Jones led the Statesmen with 16.
In the second half, the Ravens were able to keep Jones in check but couldn't find an answer for William Penn's Jarvis Haywood.
Haywood finished with a game-high 27 points off five 3-pointers scoring 17 of his total in the second half with two 3-pointers and a 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line.
Haywood pushed the Statesmen to their first double-figure lead of the second half at 12 points with just under 14 minutes left to play. Benedictine answered with back-to-back baskets from Justas Norvilas and Connor Fleming to pull back within eight points two minutes later.
From that point, William Penn was able to do just enough to keep the Ravens at arm's length. Yates knocked in a 3-pointer with 8:29 left to play to pull Benedictine back within seven points only to have the Statesmen pull back ahead by 15 with 5:40 left to play.
A 3-pointer from Jake Schannuth with 1:05 remaining pulled the Ravens within seven for the second time in the half and then Yates added a basket with 43 seconds left to pull them within seven points again, but that was all the close they could get as the Statesmen earned the eight-point win.
Yates finished the night with 18 points to lead Benedictine in scoring. Schannuth added 17 points as he finished with five 3-pointers to round out the Ravens top scorers.
The Ravens wrap up the regular season at 4 p.m. Saturday with a trip to Canton, Mo., to take on Culver-Stockton College.
With the loss to William Penn, the Ravens move into a tie for third place with Mount Mercy University in the Heart standings. If the two teams finish in a tie for third, Mount Mercy would earn the tie-breaker over the Ravens based off their split during the regular season with Grand View University.