The No. 13 Bellarmine Knights turned in a defensive clinic at the Statham Center at McKendree University to defeat the Bearcats 75-48 in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game on Thursday night.
The visiting Knights never trailed, and the outcome wasn’t in doubt very long. At the 14 minute mark of the first half, McKendree’s CaRondis Harris-Anderson hit a pair of free throws to trim the Bearcat deficit to 19-11, but that would be as close as the score would get. The visiting Knights clamped down defensively and essentially put the game away by closing with a 23-5 run to go into the locker room with a 42-16 lead.
In the second half, the Bellarmine defense eased a bit late in the proceedings, but not before the Knights saw the margin swell to as many as 35.
Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport liked what he saw from his Knights tonight. “I’m very, very proud of the entire program and of every individual on the team,” he said. “What we did tonight was total devotion to each other, and they stressed doing what they were taught. And, they enjoyed it”
“It was a great 40 minutes of basketball,” Davenport added. “We let our defense create our offense.”
And, the offense Bellarmine generated was impressive. Not only was it efficient with 58.5 percent shooting, but it was about as balanced as it could have been-13 different players scored, and no one had more than 10 points.
Adam Eberhard and Parker Chitty tied for team-high honors with 10 points, and neither played more than 19 minutes. Ben Weyer and Daniel Ramser each had nine with Chivarsky Corbett adding eight, and Tyler Jenkins dropping in seven.
The balance also was seen in the assists stats. Ten Knights contributed to the 18 total assists with Jenkins leading the way with four.
As impressive as the offense was for Bellarmine, the defense was the true game-changer. The Knights forced 22 McKendree turnovers and held the Bearcats to just 36.4 percent shooting, including just six of 22 from beyond the arc. The 48 points by the Bearcats are the fewest by a Bellarmine opponent all season as are the 16 McKendree field goals.
The first half defensive numbers for the Knights are even more eye-popping. Bellarmine held the Bearcats to 28.6 percent shooting and just two of 10 from 3-point land as McKendree totaled just six made field goals in the opening 20 minutes.
Three Bearcats managed to score in double digits with Logan Kohrmann’s 12 points leading the way. Carrington Bass totaled 11 points, and Nolan Gerling chipped in 10.
Bellarmine improves to 22-4, 13-4 GLVC with the victory while McKendree falls to 9-17, 5-12 GLVC.
The Knights close their regular season on Saturday with a road game at Illinois Springfield. Tip is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. CT).
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