Jackson Lamb buried a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the game to win it for Briar Cliff as the Chargers beat the Bellevue Bruins 76-73 Saturday afternoon at the Newman Flanagan Center.
Briar Cliff jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but an 18-2 run by Bellevue followed as the Bruins led by double digits for much of the first half. The largest lead of the game was 15 for Bellevue with 3:24 left in the first half and the Bruins led 43-33 at the half.
“We were a little frustrated at halftime,” Briar Cliff head coach Mark Svagera said. “We didn’t think we played a great first half, but in the second half we showed toughness and resiliency.”
The Bruins would continue to lead throughout the second half until a 3-pointer by Jay Wolfe with 3:40 left in the contest gave the Cliff its first lead of the half at 67-66. Wolfe led all players with 27 points in the game.
“It’s no secret that Jay Wolfe kind of carried the load for us in the second half,” Svagera said. “Jay’s so good because he can get going and make the big shot, but he’s also going to make the right play almost every time.”
The teams went back-and-forth for the final moments of the game and the Chargers led by three inside of a minute to go, but Connor Dukes drained a shot from deep to tie the game with 32 second to go.
Briar Cliff waited until the clock showed less than 10 seconds to make a push on its final possession. Wolfe attempted to drive the ball into the lane and was collapsed on by three Bellevue players, so he passed the ball back to Lamb who took one dribble to his left to elude a defender and put up a deep shot that hit nothing but net.
Lamb was 0-for-4 from the outside before hitting the deciding basket.
“Jackson is such a confident player,” Svagera said. “That’s a shot he’s hit hundreds of times and it’s no surprise that he made it in the big moment.”
“I knew they were going to try to double Jay so I set a screen and trusted him to get me the ball and I knocked it down,” Lamb added.
Bellevue had one more possession before time expired, but Sequan Walker’s halfcourt shot was offline.
Walker was the leading scorer for the Bruins with 19 points to go along with a game-high six rebounds.
Ethan Freidel was the next top scorer behind Wolfe for the Blue and Gold. Freidel finished with 15 points, while Kyle Boerhave and Jaden Kleinhesselink each chipped in 10 points. Kleinhesselink and Boerhave tied for the team lead in rebounds with four. Briar Cliff was outrebounded 28-25 in the contest.
Briar Cliff hit on 27-of-46 shots from the field for 56.5%, 8-of-20 on 3-pointers for 40% and shot 16-for-24 from the free throw line for 66.7%. The Chargers took 21 of their 24 free throws in the second half.
Bellevue hit 26-of-53 field goals for 49.1%, 12-of-24 3-point shots for 50% and 9-of-15 free throws for 60%.
The win brings Briar Cliff to 11-2 on the season, while Bellevue dropped to 6-9 on the year.
The Chargers head to Arizona next week for a pair of contests. BC takes on Arizona Christian at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and then will face Benedictine University at Mesa at 8 p.m. Thursday.