Bellarmine Avoids Upset in Exhibition

Bellarmine wins GLVC Tournament opener 79-62 over Drury
Bellarmine wins GLVC Tournament opener 79-62 over Drury
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 11:03 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Bellarmine University men’s basketball team dodged the “great equalizer” on Thursday night in Freedom Hall - but just barely. Tiffin, a former Midwest Region colleague of Bellarmine in Division II, drilled a whopping 16 3-pointers, but the Knights made just enough plays down the stretch to squeak out a 90-87 victory over the Dragons in an exhibition. Tiffin hoisted up an astonishing 45 3-point attempts - by contrast, the Dragons had only 20 two-point tries. They canned eight trifectas in each half, but Bellarmine overcame the barrage even though the Knights made just six 3-pointers.”You get outscored by 30 at the 3-point line and still win, that’s almost mathematically impossible,” Knights Coach Scott Davenport said. “We’ve got veteran guys who dug in, got necessary stops (toward the end).”Senior forward Ethan Claycomb hit 6-of-9 shots in tallying 19 points, and senior guard Dylan Penn matched him with 19 points on a 6-for-11 effort for Bellarmine. Senior guard CJ Fleming added 12 points and senior guard Juston Betz chipped in 10, seven rebounds and four assists for the Knights, who were playing their lone exhibition of the 2021-22 season. Bellarmine trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half and was down 52-43 with 16:42 left in the second stanza. Penn poured in 17 points after halftime and Fleming scored all 12 of his points after the break as the duo helped lead the Knights back. Bellarmine finally evened things up at 57 when Betz hit a driving layup with roughly 12 minutes left. Claycomb spotted Fleming for a backdoor layup to provide the Knights an 81-76 advantage with 3:18 left, but Tiffin answered with a 3 and even held an 86-85 lead with 52 seconds remaining. Penn was fouled on the ensuing possession and swung the lead back in Bellarmine’s favor for good. Fleming canned a pair from the charity stripe as things evened out a little more from the free-throw line, where the Knights went 20-of-24 in the second half after an unseemly 2-for-8 performance in the first stanza while Tiffin missed some critical attempts in the final minute. ”Well, the rims didn’t change in Freedom Hall,” Davenport said of the difference in free-throw accuracy from one half to the next. “We talked after the game about learning from it. If there’s ever film with the ability to teach from, this is it. ”Bellarmine shot 59.6 percent for the game. The Knights were consistently strong in that area, shooting 60 percent in the first half and 59.3 percent in the second, but they were undermined by 16 turnovers, the majority of which came before halftime as they trailed 41-36.”The greatest weakness of a great shooting team is when you turn the ball over,” Davenport said. “The big issue is they had 13 more shots than us.” Bellarmine will open the season Nov. 9 at No. 7 Purdue.

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