LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) -(Bellarmine University Release)
ROMEOVILLE, Ill.-The No. 7 Bellarmine Knights stormed out to a quick 14-3 lead and, thanks to their defensive effort, never let Walsh seriously challenge as Bellarmine rolled to an 81-61 victory in the opening round of the Division II National Championship.While the Bellarmine defense held the Cavaliers to just 42.6 percent shooting, the Bellarmine offense was equally impressive. The Knights shot 60.4 percent from the field and drilled 10 of 20 treys. They also won the rebounding battle 33-25.
Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport was pleased with his team’s performance at both ends of the floor. “It was offense and defense,” he said. “The scouting report and that attention to detail, that’s one thing. But it’s another thing-it’s like teaching a class--when the class embraces the material, you’re going to have a great class. So those players deserve a lot of credit.”
The second-seeded Knights held the seventh-seeded Cavaliers to just 14 points over the first 17 minutes of the game and led 35-14 before Walsh closed the first half on an 8-4 run to make it 39-22 at the break.Walsh scored the first bucket of the second half to get within 15, but that would be as close the Cavaliers would come. The Knights led by as many as 28 with all 15 players in uniform seeing court time, delighting the vocal Bellarmine cheering section, that appeared to be the majority of the announced crowd of 427 at Neil Carey Arena on the Lewis University campus.Adam Eberhard tossed in 16 points and handed out eight assists to record game-highs in both categories. Alex Cook added 13 points and four rebounds while Tyler Jenkins chipped in 11 points and four assists. Chivarsky Corbett was the game’s leading rebounder with eight.Walsh had three players reach double digits, led by Reece Bogan’s 14 points. The 6-3 freshman guard was a bright spot for the Cavaliers, hitting four of his eight 3-point attempts. JT Shumate, who was the Cavaliers’ leading scorer, was pretty well bottled up by the Bellarmine and defense, and G-MAC Freshman of the Year was held to two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak by the Cavaliers as Walsh ends its season with a 24-8 record.The Knights improve to 27-4 and will advance to tomorrow’s Midwest Regional semifinal game at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. CT), where they will face the team that eliminated them from last year’s NCAA tournament, the University of Findlay. The third-seeded Oilers turned back Drury 71-66 in the earlier quarterfinal game today.