Despite a strong first half played by the Blue Hawks, Dickinson State was unable to stop Bellevue University in the second half and fell 78-75.

The team finished the night with a 51% shooting percentage and shot 6-11 from behind the 3-point line. The game went back-and-forth, especially throughout the second half, but the dominant inside play by the Bruins forced the team to end the night on a sour note.

“They were just way more physical with (Lewis) Hayes in the inside and he was just able to finish well and they were just way tougher than us, just being honest,” head coach Josh Vaughan said. “They were just way more aggressive, way more (physical) basically, we were just not ready for it.”

Both the Blue Hawks and the Bruins got off to a slow start to begin with but were able to eventually find their rhythm. Senior Malcohm Hill was cold to start the game off but after driving to the lane and throwing down a hard two-handed dunk, Hill followed it up by draining a 3-pointer and helping the team carry a 36-33 lead into the half, leading the Blue Hawks with seven points.

Bellevue ended the half shooting 54% from the field, Dickinson State narrowly trailed by going 50% from the field. Despite the Bruins hitting four 3-pointers, Dickinson State was only able to hit two of its nine attempted shots from deep. Both teams also recorded 13 rebounds in the half.

The Bruins controlled the paint in the second half with the help of Hayes and guard Jemeil King scoring the majority of the team’s points in the second half. Hayes finished the night as the leading scorer with 26, followed by King with 17. The Bruins outscored the Blue Hawks in the second half 45-39 and shot 62% from the field compared to Dickinson State’s 52%.

Hill finished the night with 15 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double this season. Senior guard Donte Walker finished the night with 12 points, one rebound and one steal. Junior guard Travon Hamilton finished with 10 and senior guard Kenny Jackson came off the bench and finished with 14.

Vaughan hopes the team is inspired to be extra competitive in Saturday’s game against Dakota State after the tough loss.

“I hope we’re (upset) that we lost,” he said. “Can’t lose two in a row at home, so, we got to go tomorrow.”

The game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.