Bellarmine shocks Cards 67-66 in Kenny Payne’s debut

Cards hold first media day under head coach Kenny Payne
Cards hold first media day under head coach Kenny Payne(Kendrick Haskins)
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 12:08 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Garrett Tipton scored a career-high 21 points as Bellarmine held on for a 67-66 win over Louisville on Wednesday night in the KFC Yum! Center.

Kenny Payne becomes the first Cards head coach to lose his first game since Hall of Famer Denny Crum did in 1971.

UofL started off hot, Jae’Lyn Withers came up with a steal and flew in for a slam and a 13-5 Cards lead.

The remainder of the first half was all Bellarmine. Tipton and Knights shot 59% from the field and when he scored in the paint to make it 24-15, it capped a 19-2 run.

Bellarmine led 41-30 at the half.

UofL showed some life in the second, a Mike James three got them within 50-44.

Then El Ellis spun down the lane and flipped in a one-handed scoop to get the Cards within 50-46.

Bellarmine answered. 2021 Kentucky Mr. Basketball Ben Johnson drained a deep triple for a 55-47 Knights cushion. Tipton hit back-to-back baskets to increase the lead to 67-55 with 4:41 left. The Knights would not score again.

The third three-pointer of the night from freshman Mike James got UofL within 67-66 with 1:01 left.

After a Bellarmine turnover, Ellis missed the front end of a one-and-one with 43.9 seconds left.

Then Tipton missed the front end of a one-and-one with 39.7 seconds left. The Knights did get an offensive rebound, but Tipton had his drive blocked by Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and when Tipton recovered it, he was out of bounds with 27.3 seconds on the clock.

The Cards eventually had the ball on the baseline with 10.6 seconds remaining, down 67-66. Ellis threw it in to freshman Kamari Lands, who shot a jumper over a challenging Juston Betz. The shot bounced off the back of the rim. A leaping Roosevelt Wheeler caught the ball in the air and shot it before coming down. His shot hit the front of the rim and was pulled down by Betz. Betz threw the ball over his head to the other end of the court. It went out of bounds with 0.9 seconds left.

After a UofL timeout, Huntley-Hatfield got it in to Ellis, but his heave from halfcourt bounced off the backboard.

The Knights 67-66 win snapped a 12-game losing streak against UofL and gave Bellarmine its first win over a Power 5 school since making the move to NCAA Division I in 2020.

“The play that Kamari came off, came off wide open. I can’t ask for a better shot,” Payne said. “My lesson to them is just confidence is something that a lot of people don’t like to talk about as coaches. It comes from doing something so hard for so long and I hate to say, it’s a little bit of a fear of failure. When you live by that fear of failure it makes you train a certain way. It makes you alert to everything, knowing that I’m going to shoot this shot thousands and thousands and thousands of times from a fatigue state.”

“It’s special for the players,” Scotty Davenport said. “I just stood in the back corner of the locker room and watched them.”

The Cards (0-1) are back in action on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center against Wright State (0-1). The Raiders lost to Davidson 102-97 in double overtime on Wednesday night.

Bellarmine (1-0) visits Morehead State (0-1) on Saturday at 8 p.m.