Dictate the pace, dictate the game.
And Jalen Brunson was the great dictator at Saturday's Night of Hoops.
Stevenson's electric junior guard dominated with a personal-high 39 points while leading the Patriots to a 77-64 victory over Benet in the 21st annual event at Batavia.
Less than 24 hours after feeling under the weather in an emotional win over Zion-Benton, Brunson controlled the game from the tip. His 12 points during an explosive 18-0 run to start the second quarter pushed Stevenson (21-1) to a 33-13 lead.
"I feel a lot better," Brunson said. "I still haven't been able to eat a full meal. My parents have really helped me just giving me the right fluids and the right stuff to eat, so I'm trying to get back to 100 percent."
Benet (14-7), despite 6-foot-9 Xavier-bound senior Sean O'Mara tallying 27 points and pulling down 13 rebounds, never came closer than 8 points away after the 18-point outburst. O'Mara battled foul trouble all game long, eventually fouling out with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter.
"That run is where we lost the game," O'Mara said. "We've got to be able to come back from something like that. If you give up a run like that to a team as good as Stevenson, you've got to be almost perfect in the second half in order to even be close to winning that game."
Stevenson led by as many as 25 points in the third quarter after a Connor Cashaw 3-pointer. Cashaw scored 16 points and Matt Johnson added 14 including four 3-pointers.
Benet knocked down five of its six 3-pointers in the second half while trying to forge a rally. A 9-2 fourth-quarter Redwings spurt -- interrupted by a nifty steal and dunk by Brunson -- narrowed the gap to 62-54 with just less than six minutes left after a pair of Liam Nelligan free throws.
"We kind of let down a little bit, but they're a good team, they're going to come back at us," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose. "They can shoot. And when they got some open shots they knocked them down."
Josh Yesufu scored 8 of his 12 points in the second half for Benet while Nelligan scored all 10 of his points.
"We were able to work our way back into it somewhat in the second half," said Benet coach Gene Heidkamp. "But you can't give a great team that type of run. Their guard play is too good. It's too hard to expect them to make mistakes down the stretch."
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