The Raven men's basketball team battled an aggressive Avila University attack on Saturday to earn their 18th win of the season.
In a game where the lead changed hands 15 times, Benedictine (18-10, 10-7 HAAC) edged out Avila (9-18, 4-13 HAAC) 63-62 in their final home game of the regular season.
After the Ravens pushed their lead to six points with 11 minutes left in the first half, Benedictine and Avila went back-and-forth for the remainder of the game, as neither team led by more than five points over the final 30 minutes of play.
With 90 seconds left in the game and with his team trailing, Raven forward Charlie Wallrapp (Jr., Omaha, Neb.) nailed one of his two 3-pointers off the assist by guard John Harris Jr.,(Fr., Lincoln, Neb.) to push the Ravens ahead 63-62.
Wallrapp's 3-pointer proved to be the game-winner as Benedictine came up with three defensive stops over the final 21 seconds, including the 49th blocked shot of the season by forward Jallen Messersmith (Soph., Blue Springs, Mo.) which helped preserve the win.
"I thought our guys really hung in there because in a game like that you've just got to hang around and make a play at the end, and that's what we did," said Raven head coach Ryan Moody.
The Ravens shot 48 percent from the floor and 39 percent from beyond the three-point line while Avila converted 40 percent of their field goals and 35 percent of 3-point shots.
Two Ravens hit double figures as Wallrapp finished with 23 points hitting 9 of 11 for floor and 2 of 2 from behind the arc. Forward TJ Stevens (Sr., Overland Park) tacked on 11 points for the Ravens off the bench.
Avila controlled the boards, out-rebounding Benedictine 45-25 but couldn't take advantage of that margin due to the Ravens efforts against Avila's second efforts.
"What I like about those stats is despite 19 (offensive) rebounds, (Avila) still only shot 40 percent," Moody said. "So what we did is contest their shots and we didn't give them the second one."
Benedictine sent Avila to the foul line 23 times off of 16 personal fouls but the Eagles were only able to convert 57 percent from the free-throw line for an extra 13 points.
Benedictine shot 67 percent, only attempt nine free throws, while making six.
Sedrick Johnson led Avila with 18 points in the game. Johnson, who gave the Ravens trouble the last time the teams met, was held to only two baskets in the second half.
The Ravens head to Baldwin City Monday night – weather permitting – for a 7:30 p.m. game against Baker University to wrap up their regular season.
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This story was written by sports information student assistant Maddie Maher. Maddie can be contacted at [email protected]