It took three tries, but Peru State knocked off NAIA No. 1 Benedictine on Tuesday when it mattered most — in the Heart of America tournament championship game.
The No. 24 Bobcats defeated Benedictine 74-65 in Atchison, Kansas, ending the Ravens' 29-game winning streak.
Peru State had lost twice to the Ravens in the regular season — 67-63 on Jan. 10 and 70-64 on Feb. 20. Benedictine was a perfect 24-0 in the HAAC in the regular season; Peru State was second at 15-9.
Lyle Hexom had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats (23-10). Jamil Maddred added 15 points, Brandon Jones 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Terry Moore 10 points.
Benedictine's Eric Krus led all scorers with 26 points, shooting 10-for-14 from the field.
Peru State won despite shooting just 40 percent from the field. The Bobcats' nine three-pointers — Benedictine made six — helped make up the difference.
Both teams qualified for the NAIA Division I tournament March 20-26 in Kansas City, Missouri.