St. Ambrose worked its way back to the .500 mark Wednesday by working the boards.
The Fighting Bees overwhelmed Judson on the glass, out-rebounding the Eagles by 20 to earn a 77-72 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory at Lee Lohman Arena.
"The past couple of games, we’ve been getting out-rebounded and out-worked on around the boards, and that was something we had to turn around," St. Ambrose center John Kerr said. "That was something we talked a lot about. We had to turn those numbers in our favor."
That started with being active around the glass on both ends of the floor, something the Fighting Bees accomplished while limiting Judson to 40-percent shooting and mostly just one look at the basket.
St. Ambrose owned an 18-9 edge in offensive rebounds and piled up 50 rebounds overall to win for the fifth time in its last six home games.
"We seemed to get every rebound we needed when we needed them, and down the stretch, that was big," Fighting Bees coach Ray Shovlain said. "We did a nice job of that."
The teams traded seven-point leads in the first half before St. Ambrose moved ahead late, taking a 47-43 lead into the locker room at halftime following a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Dylan Kaczmarek.
The Bees held onto a slim lead until Germaine Roebuck tied the game at 61-61 on a 3-pointer from the left wing with 9 minutes, 50 seconds remaining.
St. Ambrose regained a lead it would never relinquish on the next possession, fittingly on a putback of a Lee Hardrick miss by Kaczmarek.
After two free throws by Blake Buls and a basket by Kerr extended the Bees’ lead to 67-61 with 6:49 to go, Judson came within two points just once more, but a score by Greg Wagner and another Kerr basket quickly pushed St. Ambrose back in front 73-67 with 3:43 left.
"It seemed like whenever they made a run, we were able to answer," Kerr said. "It’s important for us to protect home court if we want to get into the conference tourney, and the whole game, we kept working."
Kerr led St. Ambrose (10-10, 5-6 CCAC) with 18 points and 11 rebounds, an effort on the boards matched by Buls.
Jake Meeske added 14 points and Hardrick had 11 while Jalen Jones and Buls finished with nine apiece as part of a balanced attack.
Roebuck cataloged a 30-point performance for Judson (8-13, 4-7). He entered the game having hit 1-of-14 3-point baskets on the season but buried 4-of-6 attempts from behind the arc against the Bees.