Bellarmine competes but Bearcats win exhibition

(Belllarmine University Release)

CINCINNATI, Ohio—The Bellarmine University men's basketball team turned in a gutsy performance, but fell 84-72 to the Cincinnati Bearcats in an exhibition game at Fifth Third Arena to open the 2013-14 season.

The Knights bolted out of the gates by hitting five of their first six 3-pointers and led almost the entire first half. However, the Bearcat defensive pressure starting paying dividends, and the home squad took their first lead of the game at the 3:31 mark of the first half. Bellarmine had a chance to go into the locker room with the lead but misfired on a pair of treys in their last possession, and Cincinnati took a 37-36 halftime lead.

Bellarmine came out in the second period and scored the first five points to take a four-point lead, but Cincinnati spurted to a 15-0 run that gave them a 52-41 lead at the 13:11 mark. The Knights stiffened a bit, but never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

Bellarmine got a stellar effort from sophomore George Suggs who scored 15 points and added in five blocks, five assists and five rebounds. Senior Keisten Jones led the Knights in scoring with 20, and Jake Thelen (10) and Tanner Gibson (11) also hit double digits. Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick led all scorers with 24.

"I really like the way our guys competed," said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport. "What I told them last night is that I wanted them to finish this game and get on the bus and be proud to be on this basketball team. They're in the locker room now, and they're not happy but they're proud to be a part of this program, and that bodes well for the future. We have a chance to be a really special basketball team."