The sixth-ranked Bellarmine Knights shrugged off a slow start and posted a comfortable 82-62 victory over Drury in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game in Knights Hall on Thursday night.
The visiting Panthers pounced on the Knights in the early going to surge to a 10-2 lead, but Bellarmine responded in a big way, going on a 25-2 run during a stretch in the first half to turn a 16-10 deficit into a 35-18 advantage. Drury came back to make it a nine-point game at the half, 42-33.
The Knights turned up the defense a notch in the second period, holding the Panthers to just 32.3 percent shooting. Bellarmine saw its lead swell to as many as 24 in the second period as the Knights cruised down the stretch to record their 53rd consecutive home win.
“That was two very, very good, high-caliber teams playing, and (Drury is) very unorthodox, so they’re tough to play,” said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport, adding that the Panthers are ranked among the nation’s elite in a number of offensive categories. “We held them to 62 points…so this team played a great defensive basketball game tonight. They’re hard to guard, because you have guard them literally sideline to sideline because they literally shoot the three at all five spots.”
Offensively, Bellarmine got a balanced attack with all five starters scoring in double figures. Chivarsky Corbett and Brent Bach led the way with 15 points apiece. Junior Adam Eberhard notched another double-double with 11 points and 10 assists.
Andrew Ballock led all scorers by dropping in 16 for the Panthers.
Drury came into the game as the nation’s best 3-point shooting team, and although the Panthers made 12 triples on the night, Bellarmine held them to just 36.4 percent shooting from behind the arc. Overall DU hit just 37.7 percent of its shots despite coming into the game making 52.1 percent, which ranks sixth in the country and second in the GLVC.
Bellarmine, meanwhile, connected on 54.7 percent of its field goals to improve its season shooting percentage to 53 percent in spite of going just five of 21 from beyond the arc. The Knights lead the conference in shooting and rank second in the nation in that category.
The Knights also controlled the backboards tonight, outrebounding Drury 37-28. Corbett yanked down a game-high nine rebounds as the junior transfer from Delaware established new Bellarmine personal bests in both scoring and rebounding tonight.
With the win, the Knights improve to 16-1 overall and 7-1 in the GLVC. The loss snapped a seven-game win streak for the Panthers as they slip to 12-3, 5-2 GLVC.
Bellarmine returns to action on Saturday afternoon when they host GLVC foe Missouri S&T in a game slated for a 3:15 p.m. tip.
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by John Spugnardi