Penn’s Heroics Help Bellarmine Move to 5-0 in the ASUN

Bellarmine guard Dylan Penn scored a career-high 38 points
Bellarmine guard Dylan Penn scored a career-high 38 points(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 11:41 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Courtesy: Bellarmine Athletics) - Dylan Penn might have some friendly bragging rights over CJ Fleming. And you can bet no one is happier for that than Fleming. On Saturday night in a rocking Freedom Hall, Penn immediately followed a tying 3-pointer in overtime by Fleming by trumping his fellow senior guard with a go-ahead four-point play, and the Bellarmine University men’s basketball team hung on for an emotional 76-73 victory over Jacksonville in ASUN play. ”That’s a special win,” Knights Coach Scott Davenport said. “They’re the ones that coined the phrase ‘Believe.’ Not me.” Bellarmine, which remained undefeated in conference play, did indeed follow its mantra.

With less than a minute left in overtime, the Knights (11-8, 5-0 ASUN) trailed 70-67 after a basket by Jacksonville’s Mike Marsh. On the ensuing possession, Fleming found some room on the left wing against the Dolphins (11-6, 3-2) and buried a tying 3-pointer.”I got a little space and fired it,” Fleming said of his fifth trifecta of the game. Unfortunately, Kevion Nolan did the same on the other end. The Jacksonville guard answered with a 3-pointer of his own with 36 seconds left for a 73-70 lead. Penn, who had a herculean second half and overtime, refused to allow that to be the dagger. With 23 seconds left, he received a pass on the right wing from senior forward Ethan Claycomb and drilled a tying 3-pointer while being fouled. Penn went 9-for-9 from the free-throw line, the last of which gave Bellarmine a 74-73 lead. ”I saw like three other people that I thought were going to shoot it before me,” Penn said. “I caught it and could see the rim. We were down three, I got a good look and let it go.” ”We kicked it to ‘Dyl’ and the rest is history,” Fleming said. Nolan, who scored a team-high 21 points, had one last opportunity. With less than 10 seconds left, he rose up for a 3-pointer at the top of the key but lost the ball while being blanketed by senior guard Juston Betz. Fleming snatched the loose ball and canned both free throws after being fouled for a 76-73 lead with five seconds left. Bellarmine deliberately fouled Jacksonville on the ensuing possession so the Dolphins couldn’t get off a tying 3-point attempt, and Jordan Davis missed the first of his two free throws. He missed the second on purpose, and after a jump ball was called on the rebound and the last in a long line of video reviews took place, the Dolphins had three-tenths of a second on the clock to work with and couldn’t get off a shot on the inbound. ”We fought the whole way,” Fleming said. “It came down to one possession almost the entire game. We just kept fighting, kept scrapping. ”The entire second half was tense, and that ramped up even more inside the final minute. With 39 seconds left, Marsh hit one of two free throws to provide Jacksonville a 63-61 lead. Penn tied it up with 21 seconds remaining on a jumper in the paint. With less than 10 seconds left, Nolan missed a 3-pointer and Betz, after grabbing a long rebound, quickly relayed ahead to junior guard Alec Pfriem, whose potential game-winning shot from near the free-throw line rattled out. ”I don’t know how Alec’s shot didn’t go in. It touched every part of the rim,” Fleming said. Fleming racked a career-high 25 points with seven rebounds and four steals. Penn piled up a game-high 29 points, including 25 in the second half and overtime, and added five assists. Betz corralled seven rebounds. The game was tight throughout. Bellarmine’s biggest lead of the night was six less than three minutes into the game. Jacksonville’s biggest advantage was five in the second half. Bellarmine will play at 7 p.m. (ET) Monday at Jacksonville State.”(Jacksonville’s) defensive numbers do not lie,” Davenport said of one of the stingiest defensive units in the country. “You have to earn everything you get. ...That was one heck of a college basketball game.” For more coverage of Bellarmine athletics, follow us on Twitter (@BUKnights), Instagram (BUKnights) and Facebook (BUKnights).

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