Monmouth, IL -- If you're a Basketball coach, what's the best thing you could get on your birthday?
The Beloit College Men's Basketball team provided the perfect gift for Buccaneer Head Coach Brian Vraney, holding on for a win over Monmouth College 83-77 Saturday afternoon.
Winning for the third time in four games, the Bucs took control of the opening half with a seven-minute 17-6 run that turned a 14-13 deficit into a 30-20 lead. Beloit led 36-27 at the break.
The Bucs still led by 10 one minute into the second half before a 15-8 Fighting Scots' run made it a three-point game. Beloit maintained the slim lead until MC tied the game and then took the lead with a pair of free throws at the 4:29 mark. The Buccaneers regained the lead for good within the next minute on a Rudy Bentley three-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play by Steve McAfee. Monmouth got back within two with 2:15 remaining but that was as close as they could get. A jumper by Jacob Manthe, two free throws by McAfee and four by Bentley in the last 30 seconds sealed the win.
Beloit maintained their second-half lead with 52.2% shooting (12-23), including four three-pointers, plus 19 free throws while Monmouth couldn't rebound from 29.4% (10-34) first-half shooting. The Bucs also grabbed 42 rebounds to MC's 35 and made 32 free throws for the game to the Fighting Scots' 17.
McAfee led the way with 25 points and 14 rebounds, also adding four blocked shots, while Bentley had 23 points, including 14-18 free throws. Bentley only had two assists but they were enough to tie John Tharp's 1988-89 mark of 119 for third on the single-season list. Andrew Bremner added 14 points for the Bucs.
Beloit closes out the regular season with the home finale Wednesday night, hosting Ripon College in a 5:30 p.m. tip.