11/29/2013 | Men's Basketball | Box Score
EVANSVILLE, Ind.-The No. 3 Bellarmine University men's basketball team built a 27-point lead over Indiana University Southeast, then fought off a late charge to post an 88-75 victory in the Bill Joergens Memorial Classic at the University of Southern Indiana's Physical Activities Center.
The Knights (3-0) got a huge effort from Jake Thelen, who posted a career high with 18 rebounds and tied a career high with 22 points, and Keisten Jones continued his strong play with 22 points and eight rebounds. George Suggs also contributed an outstanding performance with career highs in points with 15 and in blocked shots with six. The six blocks were the most for a Knight since Caleb Halcomb accomplished the feat three times during the 2003-04 season.
"It was a great win, and it helps us because we saw 40 minutes of relentless pressure that we can't simulate in practice," said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport, who lauded many of his players' efforts including Thelen and Jones whom he credited for stepping up their leadership as well as their play this season.
Bellarmine never trailed in the game as they limited the Grenadiers to just 30 percent shooting in the first half. Conversely, the Knights, who came in as the second best shooting team in Division II, scorched the nets for 61.3 percent shooting in the first half as they built a 49-29 halftime lead.
After the break, Bellarmine continued to extend its lead with a Thelen layup giving the Knights a 73-46 lead with 7:54 remaining.
The Grenadiers (5-2), who came in ranked No. 2 in the NAIA Division II by the Massey Ratings, refused to fold and made a run at the Knights. Forcing seven Bellarmine turnovers and capitalizing on a BU miss on the front end of the one and one, IUS put together a 25-8 run in a span of just over five minutes and climbed to within 81-71 at the 2:40 mark.
The Knights stiffened for the game's final stretch, eliminating the turnovers and hitting five of six free throws in the game's last 1:11 to preserve the win.
Bellarmine finished the night hitting 33 of 56 field goals (58.9 percent) as Jones, Suggs and Thelen combined to hit 24 of their 31 attempts. The Grenadiers upped their shooting percentage to 43.1 percent for the game as they converted seven fast break opportunities for easy baskets to make 19 of 35 shots in the second half.
The Knights ruled the backboards the entire game and finished doubling up the Grenadiers rebounding total with a 46-23 advantage.
Bellarmine got a career high seven assists from Tanner Gibson, and Vance Hall dished out five to go along with his 11 points.
The Grenadiers were led by Kevin Mitchell, who led all scorers with 23 points. Jake Simpson of Louisville's Pleasure Ridge Park High School chipped with 17 while Vernon Payne came off the bench to pitch in 15.
The Knights move on to play King University tomorrow at 6:15 p.m. (5:15 p.m. CST) in day two action of the Joergens Memorial Classic.
BOX SCORE (HTM)