For No. 1 Bellarmine that old Wizard of Oz quote certainly rang true as the Knights turned in a virtuoso performance in thrashing the visiting Quincy Hawks 99-58 in front of 2,042 fans in Knights Hall on Thursday night.
Bellarmine surrendered a 3-pointer to the Hawks less than a minute into the game, but the Knights defense then registered eight straight stops to build a 17-3 advantage. Quincy never recovered.
In fact, the closest they would come would be 17-7 at the 12:52 mark of the first period. The margin would grow to as many as 48 before the Knights coasted in for a 41-point victory.
The Knights literally hit on all cylinders as the offense hummed to a 60.9 percent shooting percentage with 28 assists and just eight turnovers. Defensively Bellarmine held Quincy to just 34 percent shooting and forced 22 turnovers as they collected 12 steals on the night.
And, it was a quintessential team effort.
Starting guard Daniel Ramser was the only Knight to log more than 20 minutes as 12 different players scored and 15 saw court time. Senior All-American Adam Eberhard tossed in 19 points and Chivarsky Corbett turned in a double-double with a career-high 13 rebounds and 13 points in just 18 minutes of action. The third member of the starting front line chipped in 14 points as Ben Weyer drilled five of seven hosts including going 3-for 5 from beyond the arc.
“This was incredible tonight,” said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport. “The student body, the fans…it’s amazing. I think (the players) fed off the unbelievable atmosphere, and I think the atmosphere fed off them, and that’s the way it should be.”
“We stressed two things these past three days,” Davenport said about the team’s game preparation. “If the ball moves one inch, you must move, and to do that you must be in your stance with active eyes. And secondly we focused on a little more sharpness in our cutting and screening, and it shows in 28 assists.”
The near capacity crowd reveled in the play of the Bellarmine bench. Among the highlights from the non-starters included Freshman Dylan Penn, who wowed the crowd with a career-high 13 points; Oakland University transfer Chris Palombizio, who impressed the Bellarmine faithful in his first appearance as a Knight with six points in six minutes of action, and Ethan Claycomb, who added seven points and three rebounds in just 12 minutes of action.
With the win, Bellarmine improves to 13-0 overall and 4-0 in GLVC play as the home court win streak grows to 64.
Quincy, which fell to 7-8, 1-4 GLVC, was paced by Marcus Hinton and Demetrius Houston with 11 points apiece.
Bellarmine returns to action on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. when the Knights host Truman State.
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