CRAWFORD | Postgame wrap: Louisville holds off determined Bellarmine
Bellarmine played Louisville close for 30 minutes before fading late in Tuesday night's exhibition in the KFC Yum! Center.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – You think Bellarmine coach and Louisville native Scott Davenport isn’t serious? With 9:33 left and his team down 12 to the University of Louisville, he drew a technical foul in Tuesday night’s exhibition at the KFC Yum! Center.
Forget that he wasn’t really shouting at the ref that eventually T’d him up, or that most of the crowd of 15,350 in the building booed the referee who blew the whistle.
This was a different Bellarmine team from the one that struggled through an 89-61 loss to Cincinnati in Freedom Hall six days prior.
Bellarmine had trouble handling Cincinnati’s length and athleticism in that game, despite playing nearly even with the Bearcats over the middle 20 minutes of the contest. On Tuesday, Bellarmine was far more prepared for the challenge Louisville brought to the court. The Knights played tougher, more physical defense, executed better on offense and kept this one respectable until the final minutes, when the toll of three games in six days might’ve begun to take a toll.
As it was, the Knights still hung tough, falling 72-57 in a game in which Louisville had to keep its starters in until the end.
"I knew this was going to be a game like this, after seeing that game against Cincinnati," Louisville coach David Padgett said. "They're too well-coached, they return a bunch of guys from a team that won 32 games or more. I knew it was going to be a war. And our players understood that. The thing I liked was that we didn't play well offensively and we didn't allow that to effect our defense, held them to 37 percent (shooting in the first half), and that's tough to do."
Bellarmine came out determined to keep Louisville from driving into the lane, and forced a slew of early turnovers. The Knights had six steals midway through the first half, but struggled to generate offense of their own.
"Our goal tonight was to be a better team than we were against Cincinnati, and to a man, we were," Davenport said. "I'm really proud of our guys. . . . I'm so appreciative of Louisville and David doing this. We got better tonight. I hope they got better. . . . I'll give our guys a tremendous amount of credit tonight for their preparation."
Louisville got 21 points from Deng Adel and just 15 off the bench. Bellarmine was led by Brent Bach with 12 points. The Cardinals gave up 20 turnovers -- five each from Adel and V.J. King, who finished with 12 points -- but got eight points and eight rebounds off the bench from freshman Jordan Nwora.
"I told (Davenport) after the game he's got a heck of a basketball team, and he knows that," Padgett said. "When you return 11 players from a team that won 30-plus games and went to a Final Four, you know you've got a good group."
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