BELLEVUE, Neb. -- Lewis Hayes and Jaylen Wiltz combined for 40 points to lead the (RV) Bellevue University men's basketball team to an 80-73 victory over visiting University of Saint Mary in the Bruins' home opener Monday night in the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.
Bellevue improved to 2-0 on the season with the victory. The Spires are 0-1 on the season.
Hayes registered a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds along with a pair of blocks. Wiltz added 17 points and three rebounds and was 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Keshawn Bruner was also in double figures, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Diego Lucas poured in a game-high 38 points on 18-of-27 shooting from the field. He also added four steals. Christian Carmichael added 14 points, four steals, and a pair of assists.
BU hit 4-of-6 shots in the early going and took advantage of four Spire turnovers to grab an early 9-2 lead in the first four minutes of the contest. Three Bruin turnovers led to a 9-2 run by USM, as the Spires countered to tie the contest at 11-11 with 13:38 remaining in the first half.
Trailing 18-17 at the midway point of the first period, the Bruins used a 15-9 spurt to take a 32-27 advantage at the four-minute mark.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Jonah Brown gave BU a 38-34 lead with 2:47 left before halftime. The two teams traded buckets and Lucas hit two-straight jumpers as BU maintained a 42-38 lead at the break.
Lucas led all players in the opening half with 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field.
Hayes paced BU in the first period with 14 points and five boards.
After a layup by Cameron Southern pulled USM to within one point at 45-44, the Bruins used a 16-6 run, capped by two-straight 3-pointers from Wiltz, to expand the lead to double digits at 61-50 with 11:15 remaining in the contest.
The Spires responded with an eight-point run fueled by a dunk from Brad Hailey to pull back to within three points at 61-58 at the 9:08 mark.
After Wiltz gave BU a seven-point lead (71-64) following a 15-foot running jumper, USM countered with a 3-pointer by Lucas and a dunk by Carmichael to pull the Spires to within two points at 71-69 with four minutes remaining in regulation.
That is as close as USM would get as BU nailed its final two shots in the final 1:44 of the game and a pair of free throws by Jemeil King in the final seconds sealed the BU victory, 80-73.
The Bruins were impressive shooting from the field, connecting on 60.8 percent of their shots, including an 8-of-14 performance from behind the arc and a 10-of-12 mark from the charity stripe.
The Bruins will host the BU Basketball Classic this Friday-Saturday, Oct. 30-31 at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.