The Bellevue College men’s basketball team is seven games into their delayed 2020 season and has already more than doubled their conference win total from 2019. After finishing 2-12 in-conference, they are off to a 5-2 start and are second place in the North, right behind the 5-1 Skagit Valley.
With a cancellation against Skagit Valley on Sunday, April 24, the Peninsula game ended up being the only game of the week, and it delivered. Peninsula came out the gates swinging, taking a 34-31 lead at halftime. This bore a striking similarity to their first matchup back on the 10th, when Peninsula was up 37-35 at halftime over the Bulldogs in an eventual 75-67 BC win. Peninsula matches made up two of the three games where Bellevue was down at halftime. This included an 83-78 loss to Skagit Valley where Bellevue was up 53-37 at halftime.
Bellevue bounced back early in the second half, going up 36-34 just three minutes in. The lead swapped briefly but once the Bulldogs went up 42-40 with 15 minutes left, they never looked back. The lead grew to as much as eight points before the final score eventually settled in at 75-71.
All five members of the starting lineup finished with double-digit points, with O’Landa Baker leading the effort with 25 points and five steals. Maui Sze only went 3-10 from the floor but finished with a team-high six assists, followed closely by Ben Olesen off the bench with five. Isaiah Dunn posted a 12-point, nine-rebound line, one rebound away from a double-double as well.
As a team, Bellevue is notably average at scoring. Their 82 points per game are 12th in the NWAC, in addition to being tied for 19th in field goal percentage (42.9) and 21st in free throw percentage (64.2). They do however make 11 three-pointers per game, second in the league.
On the defensive end of the ball is where they have really shined. Their defensive rebound (27.6) and total rebound (37.4) marks are both good for 10th, although the generally low field goal percentage keeps the rebound margin between teams at -4.4. Their 18.7 assists and 5.1 blocks per game are second and their 11.6 steals are third. Their opponent scoring is also impressive, allowing just 77.1 points per game on under 43 percent shooting, including a three-point mark under 29 percent.
The teams matched up well, but the Bulldogs raked in the victory over the now 4-4 Peninsula, their second win over them in this young season, putting their head-to-head at 2-0. They are also 1-1 with the 1-6 Whatcom, 0-1 versus Skagit Valley, and 1-0 over the 4-3 Everett and the 2-5 Edmonds. Their upcoming schedule features more of the inter-conference matchups including yet another matchup against Peninsula on April 15. You can keep up with the schedule at https://nwacstats.org/sports/bsb/2020-21/schedule?teamId=m69poah6vsqg6kwo, where it details the time and place of the games and whether or not fans can attend.