Bellarmine defeats St. Joe's by 20

(Bellarmine University Release )RENSSELAER, Ind. — Since he was averaging nearly 33 minutes of action per game, it was a bit of a mystery as to how the Bellarmine University men's basketball team would perform without preseason All-American Jake Thelen for an extended period of time.

It turns out the Knights — thanks to a sizzling

and a dynamic

— were just fine. That duo helped No. 2/4 Bellarmine control the first half when Thelen departed with foul trouble, and the Knights dominated the second half upon the senior forward's return in a 91-71 romp Saturday over Saint Joseph's at Richard F. Scharf Alumni Fieldhouse.

George Suggs sank five 3-pointers
George Suggs sank five 3-pointers

Whitehead had his second most prolific scoring game of the season by tossing in a game-high 19 points for Bellarmine (13-2 overall), which improved to 5-1 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play and broke 90 for the fifth time this season. Suggs drilled a career-high five 3-pointers in scoring 17 points, a total that was matched by sophomore forward

. Sophomore guard

and senior forward

chipped in 11 points apiece.

Thelen was whistled for his second foul less than five minutes into the game and wouldn't return until the start of the second half. Bellarmine didn't just hang on in Thelen's absence — it took command of the game and never lost its grip. When Thelen departed, the Knights trailed the Pumas (4-13, 1-6) by five points. By halftime, BU had built a lead as large as 15 before entering the break ahead 44-37.

"This was a monumental effort when

— who is having an All-American, Player of the Year type of year — has close to season lows in points and rebounds and we win by 20," BU Coach


Suggs and Whitehead were nearly unstoppable in the first half. Suggs was merciless from the perimeter, draining four of his five attempts from 3-point land. Whitehead showcased his playmaking ability, racking up 12 points but also dishing out five assists. His driving layup with 2 seconds left propelled the Knights into halftime on a high note. The senior guard finished with a game-best eight assists.

"I'm incredibly proud of


tonight," Davenport said.