BELLEVILLE — The Lindenwood-Belleville Lynx fought off the determined Benedictine-Springfield Bulldogs, picking up a 74-68 win Monday night at Lynx Arena.
The Lynx are 7-2 following the win, maintaining their best season-start in program history.
Todd Starks led LU-Belleville with 21 points, his ninth-consecutive game in double-figures, while Matt Sturdivant picked up his third double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Brian Byrd came up just shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs (0-8) came out fighting in the first half, hungry for their first win of the season. Benedictine-Springfield held a 35-32 lead over the Lynx at the half.
The Bulldogs started quickly. They gained possession at tip-off, scoring within the first few seconds of play. It was a back-and-forth battle, with the Lynx gaining a brief one-point lead, but trailing the remainder of the half.
John Krodinger joined the usual four -- Sturdivant, Sparks, Deon Miner and Tyler Boring -- getting his first start of the season. Sturdivant led the pack with nine points in the first 20 minutes of play, on his way to his third double-double of the season.
The second half was a physical match, as the first and final three minutes of the half would prove to be pivotal moments for both teams. Starks came alive early, scoring seven points within the first three minutes to reach double figures for the ninth-consecutive game.
Back-to-back three pointers from Starks and Steve Roper propelled the Lynx to a lead that they would maintain for the first time of the night. Andrew Pokryzwinski came off the bench with a bucket that gave the Lynx an eight-point lead, their largest margin of the night up to that point.
After extending their lead to nine, a couple of momentum-changing turnovers by the Lynx put the Bulldogs back within three points in the final three minutes of play.
It remained a one-possession game down the stretch, but Starks drew two fouls in the final 10 seconds adding three points for a final score of 74-68 in favor of the Lynx.
The Lynx will return to action Wednesday as they host Hannibal-LaGrange at 7 p.m.