OLATHE – Fueled by a 40 for 55 effort from the charity stripe, the MNU Pioneers handed the Raven men's basketball team their first loss in HAAC play on Saturday.
Benedictine (11-4, 4-1 HAAC) limited MNU (10-7, 2-3 HAAC) to eight second-half field goals but couldn't overcome the Pioneers converting 36 second-half free throws as they fell 95-86.
After playing to a tie at 8 points, MNU went on a offensively that pushed the ahead by 20 points with just over a minute left in the first half.
Brett Fisher hit one of his four 3-pointers with five seconds left in the first half to send the Ravens into the half trailing the Pioneers 42-29.
The two teams traded baskets through the opening minutes of the second half. By the thirteen minute mark, the Ravens had trimmed their deficit down to nine points, 54-45, off a 3-pointer by Charlie Wallrapp.
MNU kept the Ravens at arm's length over the next six minutes before Benedictine again cut their deficit to single digits.
Benedictine closed to within seven points twice over the final six minutes of the game but couldn't pull any closer.
The Pioneers were able to hold off the Ravens over the final two minutes from the charity stripe. MNU converted 16 of their 36 second half free throws over the final two minutes of the game. Those free throws also accounted for the only offense by the Pioneers over the same stretch.
Benedictine finished just a little shy of their season average from the floor offensive as they finished at 45.3 percent. Their 13 3-pointers matched a season high they previously set in a win over Avila University back on Dec. 7.
MNU was led in scoring by Luke Thomas with 23 points as five Pioneers reach double figures. Thomas went 14 of 23 from the charity stripe nearly surpassing the Ravens free throw total of 15 of 22.
The Ravens remain on the road Thursday to take on Graceland University at 7:30 p.m. in Lamoni, Iowa. They return home on Saturday at 4 p.m. to take on Missouri Valley College.