CRAWFORD | Bellarmine edges IUS in showdown of nationally ranked local rivals
Bellarmine used a 9-0 run late in the first half to overcome a deficit and made its free throws late to hold of IU Southeast in Knights Hall Wednesday night.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Bellarmine is a fixture in the NCAA Division II Top 10 under Scott Davenport. Over 10 seasons, former University of Louisville star Wiley Brown has built IU Southeast into a Top 10 program in NAIA’s Division II, has taken the Grenadiers into the NAIA Fab Four and has them ranked No. 9 in the 2017 preseason poll.
The teams squared off in Knights Hall Wednesday night, and lived up to their billing.
After taking a five-point lead to the half, IUS led by as many as nine points in the second half against a No. 3-ranked Bellarmine team going for its 45th consecutive home-court victory.
But the Knights wouldn’t go quietly on their home court. They used a 9-0 run, fueled by baskets from CJ Fleming, Adam Eberhard, Ben Weyer and Daniel Ramser to edge ahead 67-65 with 6:01 to play.
Former Trinity standout Lukas Burkman hit a three-pointer to tie it for IUS with 1:02 left, but Bellarmine made 7 of 8 free-throws in the final minute to pull out an 84-82 win before a crowd of 1,286.
“Our guys dug in when they really had to dig in,” Davenport said. “But I give them a tremendous amount of credit. This was very similar to the way we practiced and approached this game. They’re a quality basketball team. They have great quickness; they're great defenders-they had nine steals tonight. So we're very fortunate to come out on the long end of the score tonight."
Bellarmine improved to 3-0 on the season; IUS fell to 4-2.
Kerry Smith, a transfer from Vincennes, led IUS and all scorers with 22 points, while Fern Creek product Joe Jackson added 16 and Jamie Johnson, a transfer from Kentucky Wesleyan who played his high school basketball at Central, added 14. The Grenadiers made 12 of 31 three-point attempts but just 12 of 21 from the free-throw line, which wound up being the difference in the game.
Bellarmine, which went 21 of 29 from the line and shot 50.9 percent from the field for the game, got 18 points from Weyer and 15 from Eberhard. Brent Bach and Fleming added 13 each.
Bellarmine hits the road for its next three games, playing at Wayne State in Detroit next Tuesday before a pair in Miami Shores, Fla., against No. 12-ranked Barry on Friday and Lynn University on Saturday. The Knights return home for a Great Lakes Valley Conference game against Lewis a week later, on Saturday, Dec. 2.
IUS plays its next four games on the road before returning home to face Brescia on Thursday, Nov. 30.
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