CRAWFORD | Second-half shooting clinic carries Bellarmine past S - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Second-half shooting clinic carries Bellarmine past Saginaw Valley, 93-81

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Rusty Troutman scored a career-high 29 points in Bellarmine's 93-81 victory over Saginaw Valley. (WDRB photo by Henry Crawford) Rusty Troutman scored a career-high 29 points in Bellarmine's 93-81 victory over Saginaw Valley. (WDRB photo by Henry Crawford)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — You know what makes the Bellarmine University basketball team hard to beat?

When it doesn’t miss shots.

And when the second half began against Saginaw Valley State in Knights Hall Sunday night, Bellarmine didn’t miss a shot for a very long time.

It took the Knights 9 1/2 minutes to miss a shot in the half, and when they did, they missed two straight, one a layup, the other a dunk. But by then, the Knights were up 24 and on their way to a 93-81 victory.

In real time, it seemed even longer. You could’ve left the Bellarmine campus, turned down Eastern Parkway, gotten a Crave Case from White Castle, driven back to your seat, and the Knights still wouldn’t have missed a shot.

Maybe someone in the Knights Hall crowd of 1,439 did. After all, this was nothing they hadn’t seen before from a program that has shot it as well as any team at any level of college basketball the past four seasons. But they hadn’t quite seen it from this new group of Knights, until Sunday night.

But Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport has seen it.

“I see it in practice all the time,” Davenport said. “It’s just, when you play Louisville, Cincinnati and Indiana, it’s tough to do it.”

Those three games to open the season were of immense value to the Knights, ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division II.

“I’m so proud of these guys, because they took Louisville, Cincinnati and Indiana and learned from each game,” Davenport said. “If you break the games down, except for shooting poorly at Cincinnati, we learned from each game.”

Bellarmine shot 73.1 percent in the second half, missing only 7 of its 26 shots in the half, and it shot 58.5 percent for the game.

Rusty Troutman, one night after notching a career-high 27 points against Northwood, he took it up a notch with 29 points on 9 of 12 shooting from the field against Saginaw Valley State.

“He has a great feel for how to play without the basketball,” Davenport said. “Everybody grows up now and wants to take the ball one-on-one. He’s a scorer without the ball. I know that sounds crazy, but he’s a great scorer without the ball. Now, he’s a great shooter . . . but when they take that away, his movement without the ball (overcomes it). And everybody knows. Yasin Kolo is looking for him now every time he gets it.”

Kolo, the 6-10 transfer senior from Germany, got Bellarmine going with a tip-in for his first basket. Then he hit a short jumper, then a three-pointer, and on the next possession he fouled and made a free throw.

And the Knights did all this without one of their top players — Josh Derksen, who sat out the game with his boot in a foot.

“There’s nobody in the country who has played two region teams on back-to-back nights. We researched it this morning,” Davenport said. “Some teams have played two regional teams, but not top-flight regional teams like these two.”

Bellarmine also got 13 points and four blocked shots from George Suggs, and 13 points and six assists with only one turnover from point guard Al Davis. Michael Parrish had nine points and four assists.

“When you’re teaching and everybody wants to learn, it’s magic,” Davenport said. “When you go into a classroom — I was a high school teacher — and have students who don’t want to learn, that’s going to be frustrating. I’ve got a basketball team that embraces learning. . . . That’s fun.”

The Knights are back in action Saturday night at Knights Hall against Christian Brothers.

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