NDIANAPOLIS-An NCAA Division II top 15 showdown lived up to the billing as the No. 3 Bellarmine Knights slipped past the homestanding and 13th ranked Indianapolis Greyhounds 71-69 in a Great Lakes Valley Conference contest in Nicoson Hall.
Bellarmine sophomore Dylan Penn hit a jumper in the lane with just five seconds remaining to lift the Knights to the win, but the final outcome wasn’t assured until UIndy’s Jimmy King’s potential game-winning 3-pointer came up short as time expired.
It was a roller coaster ride of a game that saw both teams string together runs to change the momentum. The Greyhounds were hot from the perimeter early and jumped out to a 30-18 lead in the first half. The Knights were able to respond with a 15-2 run late in the period to take a brief lead before King buried a jumper at the buzzer to give UIndy a 34-33 advantage at the intermission.
Bellarmine then opened the second period with a 14-5 run to go up by nine at the 14:24 mark. However, the Greyhounds then hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers and got a defensive stop to whittle the Bellarmine cushion to just four with 12:48 remaining.
After both teams suffered cold spells, the Knights retook the momentum when Alex Cook converted a put-back bucket and Bellarmine stretched a four-point lead to 12 with just 3:34 left in the game.The Greyhounds refused to fold, however, rattling off the game’s next 12 points to knot the score at 69 apiece with just 32 seconds remaining.
After a Bellarmine timeout, Penn took the inbounds pass and calmly walked the ball to the front court. He then dribbled above the top of the key until about 10 seconds remained before driving to his left and veering to his right to cut into the lane and put up a turnaround jumper with his right hand from about 10 feet for the game winner."That last play was just perfect execution," said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport. However, he credited his team’s play in the early portion of the second half for the victory.
“We won this game in the first 12 minutes of the second half,” he said."This was very high caliber basketball," Davenport added. “It wasn’t always pretty, but those are two very good basketball teams. (UIndy) is number 13 for a reason.”
In addition to Penn’s late game heroics, Bellarmine got a big lift from junior guard CJ Fleming, who led the Knights in scoring with 18 while playing 36 minutes without turning the ball over.
Penn finished with 14 points while Cook added 13 and tied Ethan Claycomb for team-high rebounding honors with five.
King paced the Greyhounds with 22 points and dished out five assists. Backcourt running mate Jordache Mavunga had an off night shooting but claimed 11 rebounds to help UIndy to a 33-32 edge on the glass.
Both teams came into the contest shooting better than 50 percent for the year, but nether reached that mark tonight. Indianapolis owned a slight advantage over Bellarmine making 24 of 51 shot attempts for 47.1 percent.
The Knights, however, took nine more shots from the field and finished 27 of 60 for 45 percent.The victory moves Bellarmine to 6-0 on the year, and as the GLVC-opener, gives the Knights a 1-0 start in the league. The loss was the first on the season for UIndy, which falls to 7-1, 0-1 GLVC.
Bellarmine now gets a bit of a break from competition to concentrate on final exams. The Knights return to action on Dec. 15 when they host Mount St. Joseph in a 3 p.m contest.