The Raven men's basketball team committed a season-low seven turnovers on Thursday night en route to a 52-39 win in the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium over Baker University.
After suffering a set-back on Monday night on the road in a loss to Missouri Valley, Benedictine (13-6, 5-3 HAAC) hit 43.1 percent from the floor to put away Baker (10-8, 3-5 HAAC), holding the Wildcats to just five second-half field goals.
Headed into the game, Benedictine was the sixth-ranked program in NAIA Div. I basketball in defensive scoring. Through 18 games, the Ravens had limited their opponents to just 60.4 points per game.
Thursday night, the Ravens dictated the pace of play from the start as they limited the Wildcats offensively.
The lead changed hands through the first 10 minutes of the opening half before Benedictine guard Luke Norville (Soph., Council Bluffs, Iowa) knocked in the Ravens only 3-pointer of the night.
The basket by Norville tied the game at 12 points and sparked the Ravens offensively as they outscored Baker 18-9 over the remainder of the first half.
The Wildcats started the second half off with a turnover that led to a fast-break lay-up by Benedictine guard John Harris, Jr., (Fr., Lincoln, Neb.) that pushed the Ravens lead into double figures.
The Ravens scoring margin would remain in double figures as the upped their game defensively, holding Baker to 25 percent from the field in the second half.
Baker finished with just 13 field goals as they were held to just 30.2 percent from the floor. They did have a solid night from the free throw line. The Wildcats finished the night hitting 10 of 12 from the charity stripe for 83.3 percent.
Despite having the overall size advantage on Benedictine, Baker was outscored in the paint 30-12.
Benedictine forward TJ Stevens scored a career-high 17 points accounting for 14 of Benedictine's 30 points in the paint as he went 7 of 8 from the field and 3 of 4 from the charity stripe. Guard John Harris Jr., chipped in with 10 points.
Defensively, the Ravens forced the Wildcats into 13 turnovers which led to a 15-6 advantage for Benedictine in points off turnovers.
Raven forward Jallen Messersmith (Soph., Blue Springs, Mo.) finished the night with six blocks. Heading into play Thursday, Messersmith ranked in the top 10 in block per game at 1.6 and total blocks. With his six blocks, he increased his season total to 32.
The Ravens held Baker leading scorer Ben Steinlage to 9 points, nearly five below his season average of 14.4 ppg. Julian Mills added 9 points off the Wildcats bench to round out the top scorers for Baker.
The Ravens hit the road Saturday, traveling to Kansas City, Mo, for a 4 p.m. game against Avila University.