The No. 4/6 Bellarmine Knights opened up a 26-point lead at the 1:50 mark of the first half en route to posting an 83-67 victory over Martin Methodist College on Saturday night in second day action of the Bellarmine Classic in Knights Hall.

Senior Al Davis led the way for Bellarmine (10-1) with 16 points while Adam Eberhard put up 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

After George Knott canned a 3-pointer on the Knights’ first possession, Bellarmine never surrendered the lead. The Knights clicked with efficiency for most of the opening 20 minutes, shooting 66.7 percent from the field with 12 assists on 16 made baskets as the home team enjoyed a 49-29 halftime cushion.

However, in the second period the Knights’ lost much of their first half crispness as the RedHawks switched to a zone defense while picking up their offense.

“I didn’t feel we played 40 minutes of Bellarmine basketball,” said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport. “I was very impressed with Martin Methodist. Scott Combs was an assistant to Dave Loos at Austin Peay, and he’s done a great job, because his kids played every second of the game.”

Martin Methodist closed the Bellarmine gap to as few as 12 in the second period as the RedHawks heated up to 51.7 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Knights cooled down considerably, making just 14 of 31 from the field in the second half. However, Bellarmine still managed a healthy 54.5 percent shooting overall while limiting Martin Methodist to just 43.3 percent.

The Knights also won the battle of the backboards, outrebounding the RedHawks 36-26 on the night.

Will Smith of Martin Methodist (5-8) led all scorers with 17 points, but he was the lone RedHawk to reach double figures as the remaining 50 points were spread between 12 different players.

Eleven Knights reached the scoring column with freshman Ben Weyer falling just one point short of his career high with nine. The freshman out of Newport Central Catholic also set a new career high with six rebounds. Sophomore Daniel Ramser tied his career high with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting.

The victory kept two streaks alive for the Knights as they won their 10th consecutive game and they increased their home win streak to 32 games.

Bellarmine will not return to action until Dec. 31, when they face a stern test by going on the road to tangle with the defending national runner-up Lincoln Memorial. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.

by John Spugnardi