Penn (8-5), who had defeated then-#23 Grand View last Saturday 70-62, was looking for a repeat performance, but unfortunately did not have enough down the stretch to accomplish the feat.
The Statesmen scored the game's first five points and continued to hold the advantage until the 15:32 mark when Jerrod Tucker made a layup to give the hosts a 13-12 lead that they would never relinquish.
The Bruins (10-2) led the remainder of the first half, but a late Penn rally in the final two minutes cut the advantage to just one at 36-35 at the break.
Intermission did little to help Penn as it cooled off and was held scoreless in the first four minutes of the second stanza. Bellevue took advantage and pulled ahead by six at 41-35.
The Statesmen cut the deficit to two on several occasions over the next few minutes, but the Bruins then pulled away to a game-high lead of 11 at 54-43 with 11:01 remaining.
With ample time left to produce a rally, Penn did just that by outscoring Bellevue 17-6 to tie the game for the final time at 60-60 at the 7:05 mark.
Unfortunately, the hosts were too much in the end scoring seven straight and never looking back. The Statesmen narrowed the margin to three at 76-73 with 2:07 on the clock, but it was not to be.Alvin Robertson
(So., San Antonio, Texas, Fort Smith CC) led Penn with 17 points on 7-10 shooting and also tied for the team lead with two steals.Luis Garcia
(Jr., San Pablo, P.R., Southeastern CC) had 15 points on 6-7 shooting (2-3 three-pointers), while Nick Coffey
(So., Hinsdale, Hinsdale Central HS) and Kris Miller
(Jr., Belleville, Mich., Belleville HS) also reached double figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Coffey recorded much of his success at the charity stripe with a 5-6 showing, while Miller led all Statesmen with three assists.Joe Womack
(Sr., Tacoma, Wash., Lower Columbia CC) just missed the mark with nine points in addition to team highs in rebounds (nine) and blocks (two). Joel Stout
(Jr., New Sharon, North Mahaska HS) added eight points in the loss.
Penn lost the shooting battle 47.0%-42.3% and had several fewer chances at the charity stripe, going just 13-20 (65.0%) while Bellevue was 20-31 (64.5%).
The Statesmen did however find more success on the boards with a 47-41 edge and also had three fewer turnovers (15-18).Next:
Penn is off until after the holidays when it will then host Grace (Mich.) in the William Penn Holiday Classic Tuesday, December 30 at 6 p.m. Nebraska Christian and Nebraska Tech & Ag have also been invited to compete in the Classic which will be held on Monday and Tuesday, December 29 and 30.