For the 14th straight game this season and for the 65th straight time at home, the Bellarmine Knights were victorious. This time the top-ranked Knights thwarted a solid effort from visiting Truman State to post a 70-51 victory on Saturday afternoon in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game in Knights Hall.
Although the Knights (14-0, 5-0 GLVC) shot a highly respectable 52 percent with 20 assists, it was the defensive effort that pleased Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport.
“That was a tough game, give Truman a lot of credit,” he said. “That’s the best 3-point shooting team we’ve played. They make 10 a game and over 49 percent of their shots are threes. So our emphasis with only the one day of preparation was the three-point line, and we hold them to 25 (percent).”
Bellarmine got off to a bit of a slow start with Truman jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead. However, as Coach Davenport said after the game, “when things were not going great, I was proud of our defense.” And it was that defensive effort that helped keep the Knights close over the first several minutes.
The Knights’ first lead of the game came at the 11:14 mark of the first half when Daniel Ramser found Ben Weyer for a layup to put the Knights up 16-14. Bellarmine would not trail again.
The Bulldogs (8-8, 3-3 GLVC) were held to just 29.2 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes as Bellarmine cruised into halftime with a 13-point cushion, 32-19.
After the break, the Knights pushed the margin to 17 early, but Bulldogs fought back with a 12-2 run to get within 40-33 with 14:46 remaining. Bellarmine ended the run on a bucket by Adam Eberhard, who led all scorers with 22. Truman State never threatened a serious comeback attempt thereafter, and the final margin of 19 represented the biggest lead of the game.
“We shoot 52 percent with 20 assists. Everybody in America would love with those numbers, but you go into (our) locker and they’re not very happy,” Davenport said, referring to several easy missed opportunities.
Despite the players not being satisfied with the win, several individuals put together very good performances. On the heels of a 13-point, 13-rebound performance on Thursday, Bellarmine’s Chivarsky Corbett actually improved on that against the Bulldogs by adding one to his point total and matching his career-high 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard CJ Fleming also turned in a strong game for Bellarmine, knocking down three of four 3-pointers and adding a free throw for 10 points. He also chased down six rebounds.
A trio of Truman State players scored in double figures for the Bulldogs. Cade McKnight and Nathan Messer tied for team-high honors with 13 points while Taurin Hughes tossed in 12.
Looking at team statistics, Truman State launched 23 treys but connected on just six while Bellarmine was a bit more effective from long range, hitting seven of 18. Overall, the Bulldogs made 21 of 52 field goals for 40.4 percent while the Knights canned 27 of 52. The contest featured very few free throws. Truman attempted just five, making three while the Knights were 9-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Bellarmine, which leads the GLVC in rebounding margin, was plus-four on the backboards today, winning the rebounding battle 31-27. The Knights also held an edge in takeaways with Truman committing 16 turnovers compared to 13 for BU.
Bellarmine’s 14-straight victories tie last year’s team and the 2008-09 squad for the best start to a season by a Knight team. This year’s group will have the chance to claim the record by itself on Thursday night when Bellarmine travels to Liberty, Missouri to face William Jewell in a game slated for an 8:30 p.m. (ET) start. The Knights also will take on Rockhurst in the upcoming week, playing the Hawks at 4 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.
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