(Bellarmine University Release ) EVANSVILLE, Ind.-Another solid all around effort carried the No. 3/4 Bellarmine Knights past the Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers 79-68 in the semifinals of the Deaconess Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship Tournament on Saturday afternoon in the Ford Center.
The top-seeded Knights never trailed in the contest and had an answer every time Parkside-the No. 4 seed-closed to within five points of the lead coming down the stretch.
In the second half, the Knights allowed the Rangers just one offensive rebound as Bellarmine owned a 13-4 advantage in second chance points and a healthy 32-22 edge in rebounding.
"The game was dictated by the fact that they only had one offensive rebound in the second half," said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport. "I thought our defense was very good. Today, our players' togetherness and willingness to play for each other was off the charts."
Offensively, Adam Eberhard paced the Knights with 21 points and collected his sixth double-double of the year by pulling down 11 rebounds.
Al Davis also was a catalyst for the Bellarmine offense dishing out six assists and dropping in 15 points as he challenged the Ranger defense with strong drives to the basket.
Senior Rusty Troutman has held in check in the opening 20 minutes, but the 6-5 guard poured in 13 second half points while yanking down seven rebounds.
For the game, the Knights shot 56.9 percent and converted 15 of 19 free throws while knocking six of 14 3-pointers.
The Rangers struggled from the 3-point in the first half, but drained seven of 17 from beyond the arc after halftime to stay within striking distance. For the game, UWP launched 30 triples, connecting on just nine for an even 30 percent.
Wisconsin-Parkside (22-7) got 19 points from Espen Fjaerestad, who drilled five of his eight trifectas and went 4-for-5 from the free throw line.
Bellarmine, which won its 14th in a row to improve to 27-3, had strong support in the neutral site game as many fans made the trip to Evansville to support the Knights.
"You saw the support from the people who drove over from Louisville today," said Davenport, "and I know that doesn't score a point or get a rebound for you but that support is amazing. I can't thank them enough."
The Knights advance to tomorrow's GLVC Championship game, which will be played at 1 p.m. (2 p.m. EST) at the Ford Center. Bellarmine will square off against Lewis, who defeated Truman State 85-75 in the other semifinal game.
The Flyers, who are the No. 7 seed, are the defending GLVC champions. Last year Lewis eliminated the Knights from the GLVC tourney with a 70-66 win in the semifinals.