(ATCHISON, Kan.) Jallen Messersmith didn't light up the scoring column, but the set the tone Saturday with his inside presence.
The junior tallied five blocks and a breakaway dunk as No. 20 Benedictine stopped Central Methodist's seven-game win streak with a 75-65 victory.
The Ravens (16-6, 9-3) are now in a three-way tie with Culver and Evangel atop the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
Looking to rebound from back-to-back losses against Peru State and Avila, both near the bottom of the HAAC, the Ravens played a one-possession contest with the league's hottest team throughout the first half. CMU (14-10, 7-5) jumped out to an early five point lead before a nine-point swing handed Benedictine the lead at halftime.
The Ravens' lead grew by as many as 12 in the second half, fueled by 19 points from Steven O'Brien and another 18 from John Harris Jr.
CMU's Melvin Stillman led all scorers with 28 points.
Central Methodist Women 79, Benedictine 56
(ATCHISON, Kan.) The Benedictine women looked out of sorts from start to finish on Saturday, falling to Central Methodist 79-56 in a showdown of two of the top three teams in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
The loss snaps a four-game win streak for the Ravens (16-8, 8-4) , who drop a into a tie with CMU for third place in the HAAC.
Benedictine fired a glaring 16 percent from beyond the arc, knocking down just 4 of 24 attempts. They made good on 25 percent of their shots from the floor overall.
CMU used the scoring drought to grab a 41-24 halftime lead and kept their foot on the gas until the finish. Morgan Vetter dropped a game-high 28 points as the Eagles (17-5, 8-4) shot 52 percent from the floor.
Erin Murphy paced the Ravens with 23 points, while Chayla Rutledge added 10.