(Release from Bellarmine University)
LOUISVILLE, Ky.-The Bellarmine University men's basketball team posted a wire-to-wire 76-72 victory over Maryville on Saturday afternoon in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game in the final regular season contest at Knights Hall.
The Knights (18-5, 10-5 GLVC) jumped out to 6-0 lead and quickly extended that into a double digit advantage for most of the first half, going into halftime with a 36-21 cushion. After the break, Bellarmine pushed the lead to 20 at 51-31 on a Rusty Troutman triple with 14:49 remaining.
However, the gritty Maryville club never quit fighting and the Saints' Asa Toney took the game over-scoring 23 of his game-high 26 points in the second half-as the Knights' advantage dwindled to just two at 66-64 with 2:56 on the clock.
Bellarmine's Vance Hall and Jake Thelen turned in clutch performances in the late going to help the Knights hang on for the win. First, Hall converted both ends of a 1-and-1 with 2:22 left in the game. Then the senior guard swished a pull-up, 17-foot jumper to put the Knights on top 70-64 with 35 seconds remaining.
Maryville (11-11, 5-9 GLVC) answered with a quick layup then fouled Thelen with 19 seconds showing on the clock. The junior forward hit both ends of the bonus to stake Bellarmine to a 72-66 lead. A Saints turnover gave the ball back to the Knights, and Hall converted two more free throws with seven ticks left on the clock.
Maryville then got an old-fashioned 3-point play from Toney, and the Knights turned it over on a 5-second call. Myles Jerrett then drained a 3 with just one second left to pull the Saints back to within one 74-72.
Thelen closed out the game's scoring by sinking two more free throws to make the final 76-72.