After opening conference play with a win on the road Thursday night, the Raven men's basketball team took to their home floor for the first time in Heart of America Athletic Conference play on Saturday hosting No. 21 Evangel University.
While Benedictine (7-3, 1-1 HAAC) held a 34-20 advantage in the paint, Evangel (8-3, 1-1 HAAC) held off a late second-half run to earn the 71-58 win over the Ravens.
The Ravens led by as much as four points early on but the Crusaders gradually chipped away and after playing through four ties and five lead changes, Evangel pushed ahead by six points with four minutes remaining in the half.
Back to back buckets by Benedictine – a field goal by forward TJ Stevens (Sr., Overland Park) and a 3-pointer by guard Brett Fisher (Soph., Overland Park) in the first 90 seconds of the second half cut the Evangel lead to two points before the Crusaders went on a 10-0 run.
Benedictine battled back one more time to erase a 12-point deficit to pull within five points on a jumper by Shawn Fleming, Jr., (Fr., Dayton, Ohio) with just under eight minutes left in the game.
That was all the closer the Ravens would get as they were forced to foul late.
Evangel finished the second half 15 of 19 from the charity stripe and finished the game knocking in 76.7 percent at the free throw line on the game.
Three Ravens finished the game in double figures, led by the game-high 18 points of guard John Harris, Jr. (Fr., Lincoln, Neb.) Fleming, Jr., added 11 points off the bench while forward Charlie Wallrapp (Jr., Omaha) added 10 points.
Evangel guard Victor Agbasi led the Crusaders with 15 points off the bench as Evangel finished with four players in double figures.
Agbasi's effort anchored a Crusaders bench that outscored Benedictine 31-21.
Benedictine steps out of HAAC play on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game on Tuesday in Parkville, Mo., against Park University.
The two teams squared off at Benedictine on Nov. 10 with the Ravens earning a 75-52 win over the Pirates.