The shots were falling from all over the place as the Peru State Bobcat men's basketball team gained a 91-65 win over the visiting Clarke Crusaders from Dubuque, Iowa, on Saturday in the Al Wheeler Activity Center.
With the decisive win, the 'Cats improve to 5-7 overall and are 4-4 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart). The Crusaders fell to 3-7 on the season and are now 2-6 in conference play.
First Half Action
Peru State never trailed in the contest as Rashad Brackeen (Oakland, Calif.) got things started with a bucket in the paint on an assist from Marley Biyendolo (Melbourne, Australia) with 19:13 to go in the first half. Noah Vasa (Nebraska City) made it 4-0 with another bucket in the paint at the 18:43 mark.
The Crusaders would get a trey to cut the lead to 4-3, but that would be as close as Clarke would be the rest of the contest. Brackeen came back with a trey of his own and the 'Cats extended their lead to 7-3. Peru State would go ahead by double digits when Vasa hit a bucket in the paint on an assist from Brackeen to make it 13-3. Later Biyendolo would make one of two free throws to make it 14-3 with 14:37 left in the half to give Peru State its largest lead of the game at that point.
Clarke would get another three-pointer to get the contest back within single digits at 14-6, but Matej Delinac (Brampton, Ontario, Canada) would counter with a trey coming off an assist from Lyle Hexom (Omaha). The Crusaders would never get the game back to single digits the rest of the contest.
With 57 seconds left in the half, Peru State would get its biggest lead to that point when Hexom hit a field goal to make it 42-22. At the end of the half, the Bobcats would lead 44-26.
Second Half Action
Biyendolo would start the second half with a bucket on an assist from Hexom to put Peru State up by 20 again at 46-26. Clarke would go on a 5-0 run to get within 15 at 46-31, but that would be as close as Clarke would be the rest of the game.
Peru State would extend its lead to 30 with 12:26 remaining at 69-39 when Van Merbin (Melbourne, Australia) hit a three-pointer on an assist from Brackeen.
Later the 'Cats would be up by 32 at 75-43 with 9:56 left when Anthony Richardson (Schenectady, N.Y.) on an assist from Paulius Sakinis (Klaipeda, Lithuania). Clarke would go on a mini-run and did out-score the Bobcats 16-2 to make it 77-59 with 4:00 left on the clock. A trey by Richardson would stop that run off an assist from Biyendolo.
A bucket by Vasa in the paint off the fast break was the final score of the game as Peru State won 91-65.

 Team Statistics
The Bobcats shot the ball well as they made 34 of 69 field goals tries for 49.3% which included making 15 of 37 from long range for 40.5%. At the charity stripe the 'Cats made 8 of 11 for 72.7%. Clarke made 24 of 71 field goals for 33.8% and connected on just 7 of 31 tries from three-point range for 22.6%. At the free throw line, the Crusaders made 10 of 15 attempts for 66.7%.
Peru State held a big rebounding edge 44 to 30. The Bobcats dished out 18 assists while Clarke finished with ten. Both teams had 15 turnovers.
The Bobcats blocked four shots and grabbed six steals while Clarke had four steals.
Individual Statistics
Brackeen finished with a game- and season-high 30 points on 10 of 19 shooting which included making 8 of 16 from behind the arc.
Four other Bobcats finished in double figures – Vasa with 14, Biyendolo with 12, and Hexom and Justin Neyland (Council Bluffs, Iowa) with ten apiece.
Hexom finished with a double-double as he grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Vasa grabbed seven while Biyendolo added six. Sakinis and Richardson each added five boards.
Biyendolo dished out six assists while Brackeen contributed four. Hexom and Vasa each blocked two shots. Richardson led the team with two steals.
Upcoming Games
Peru State will take off two weeks for finals and a little break before resuming practice. The 'Cats will again take the court on Jan. 2 when they travel to Topeka, Kan., to face NCAA DII Washburn in an exhibition for the Bobcats. The Ichabods are off to an 8-2 mark and will play two more contests before Peru State heads to Topeka.
The Bobcats will return to conference action on Jan. 4 when they take on Graceland in Lamoni, Iowa, at 7:30 p.m. The Yellowjackets are off to one of their best starts in recent years as they are 8-3 overall and are 6-2 in the Heart. Graceland will also take on an NCAA DII opponent on Jan. 2 when they face William Jewell (Mo.).
The first home game of 2017 for the Bobcats will be Saturday, Jan. 7, when the Baker Wildcats visit the AWAC for a 4 p.m. contest. Baker is presently is 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the Heart. The Wildcats will play a pair of contests before heading to Peru.