Jackson, Miss- Belhaven’s Deon Bedford led all scorers with 19 points as the Blazers defeated Loyola University New Orleans 59-51 Thursday night at Rugg Arena.
Belhaven took the lead for good at the 15:57 mark as a Curt Hall jumper gave the Blazers an 8-6 advantage. The margin grew to as many at 16 as a Bedford field goal gave the home team a 28-12 edge with 5:34 left in the opening half.
Loyola answered with a 9-2 run over the next two minutes with seven points coming from McCall Tomeny. The junior from Baton Rouge converted a jumper off a feed from Jalen Gray to make it a nine point game 30-21 with 2:57 left in the stanza. A bucket by the Blazers Curt Hall would give Belhaven a 32-21 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Blazers led by as many as 18 points on two separate occasions. The last came with 11:09 to play on a Jonathan Ratliff field goal. Loyola rallied over the next 10 minutes, outscoring Belhaven 20-6. A jumper by Jared Townsend pulled the Wolf Pack to within four points, 55-51, with 50 seconds remaining. A bucket and a pair of free throws by Bedford on the ensuing two possessions for the Blazers secured the 59-51 victory.
Bedford finished the night shooting 9 of 17 from the field and grabbed six rebounds as Belhaven improved to 15-13, 13-6 in the SSAC. Ratliff added 12 points for the Blazers.
For Loyola (6-20, 5-14 SSAC), Tomeny led with 14 points on 5 of 17 shooting from the field. Daniel Kuhl also had double digits as he contributed 13 points to the effort.
Loyola will conclude the season on Saturday with a tilt against Blue Mountain College at 4 p.m. in The Den.
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