After seeing their 15-point lead shrink to just four, the No. 3 Bellarmine Knights unleashed a 16-2 run on the homestanding Wayne State Warriors and coasted in with a 65-50 victory at the Matthaei Center on Tuesday night.
Bellarmine played a solid opening 20 minutes, shooting 59 percent while holding WSU to just 33 percent, and built a 33-18 halftime advantage. However, the Warriors fought back to get within 43-39 when Chuck Key converted a layup with 11:53 remaining in the second half.
The Knights answered the challenge in a big way with Ben Weyer delivering what was probably the knockout blow when his 3-pointer rattled home to polish off a 16-2 run and give BU its biggest lead of the night at 59-41 with just over five minutes remaining.
After the game, Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport described himself as being “practically giddy” about his team’s performance. “The accounting they gave of themselves tonight was nothing short of tremendous,” he said, pointing out it came against a team that returned four starters and added a Division I transfer.
The performance was made even sweeter by the fact it was Bellarmine’s first true road game. The Knights’ first two wins of the season came away from Knights Hall but were played on a neutral floor in Indianapolis.
“All we talked about (in the locker room) was how much better we were than last Wednesday,” Davenport said. “And that was because of how great our practices were this week.”
Weyer paced the Knights and led all scorers with 16 points, going 5-for-7 from the field and knocking down four of his six triples. Juniors Adam Eberhard and Daniel Ramser also turned in good nights with Eberhard tallying 10 points with six rebounds and three assists and Ramser adding 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
The Warriors got 15 points apiece from Ronald Booth and Key, who added 13 rebounds.
After leading the nation in field goal percentage a year ago, the Knights are putting themselves in a good position to duplicate that achievement. Bellarmine has shot better than 50 percent in all four of its games this year, making 21 of 41 field goal attempts tonight for 51.2 percent shooting.
Although the Warriors heated up a bit in the second period, the Bellarmine defense held WSU to just 42.1 percent overall.
Bellarmine improves to 4-0 on the year, while Wayne State slips to 1-2.
The Knights continue a busy Thanksgiving week by traveling to Miami for a top-5 showdown with Barry University on Friday before wrapping up with Lynn University (at Barry) on Saturday.
Barry and Bellarmine are both ranked in the nation’s top five, but in different polls. The Knights are ranked No. 3 in the NABC poll, and the Buccaneers are No. 5 in the National Media Poll. (The Knights are seventh in the media poll while Barry is eighth in NABC.)
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by John Spugnardi