LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Maybe it was the travel. Maybe it was just an off night. The Bellarmine University basketball team went on a two-game road swing, to St. Louis, then Kansas City, then came back to Louisville, packed back up, bussed back to Chicago – winning all the games, mind you, and climbing to No. 1 in an NCAA Division II poll conducted of sports information directors.

The Knights weren’t expecting any trouble in Kenosha, Wisc., on Saturday. They had beaten host Wisconsin-Parkside by 34 points at Knights Hall in December.

They lost. It wasn’t even close. It was 80-68 – and an awfully long bus ride back home to Louisville, where they arrived late Saturday, turned around for a Sunday practice and had to face rival Southern Indiana on light preparation Monday night.

Sometimes losses happen, even to No. 1-ranked teams. The important thing is how you respond. On Monday, the Knights bounced back with comfortable 78-62 win over a Southern Indiana team that had lost only one league game entering Monday’s contest.

“After the loss, we had to really look at ourselves in the mirror and figure out what was not working for us,” said Bellarmine senior guard Brent Bach, who led the Knights with a career-high 28 points. “We knew that wasn’t the way that we play. We knew we needed to come out with a lot of energy tonight and that’s what you saw.”

Davenport is still at a loss to explain what he saw in the defeat.

“It was very perplexing, to be polite, so see them practice on Sunday the way they did,” Davenport said. “Because you had visions of the way they played the day before. You’re going against each other that hard, why didn’t you go that hard the day before? But they’re smart young men, they know that. I mean, I did tell them, but they still knew it. But it was an issue of personal pride today, and I give them my compliments. Southern Indiana is a quality team. We’re a quality team. That was a March-type game.”

Against USI (13-5, 4-2), the Knights had some offensive cobwebs to shake off. Their first field goal didn’t come until more than four minutes had elapsed. The Screaming Eagles scored the game’s first points, off a three-pointer by Nate Hanson, Evansville Reitz High School, Class of 2015, over Bellarmine’s Adam Eberhard, Evansville Memorial High School, Class of 2015.

Hanson let Eberhard hear about it. He drew a technical foul. Against his hometown team, Eberhard was really good – almost triple-double good. He scored 16 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out eight of his team’s 17 assists.

“Tough game to play, it’s his hometown,” Davenport said. “His dad played there. But he gave us everything he had tonight.”

USI likes to go inside to its talented and physical post players, but Bellarmine attacked inside itself, piling up fouls on the Screaming Eagles. Still, USI spread its offense and stayed close with drives to the basket and timely shooting.

But one game after giving up 58 percent shooting in a road loss, Bellarmine tightened down the clamps on defense, holding USI to 38 percent shooting in the second half and 39 percent for the game.

“I told them after the game, that game and that performance from the tame the game ended Saturday to today was a matter of personal pride,” Davenport said. “. . . Did we play perfectly? No. Did we play with incredible personal pride? Yes, and what’s key is, they did it together. I asked them after the game, what did you like, and Jarek Coles said, “Everybody talked on defense, not at each other, for each other.’ There’s a big difference in that little play in words. That was a March-type game, possession by possession. So I’m proud of these guys. The schedule has been tough. . . . The travel – but they’ve never complained, and I think part of that is because they enjoy each other.”

Bellarmine led by just four at halftime, but extended its lead to 15 early in the second half and didn’t allow USI to mount a serious threat. Chivarsky Corbett and Alex Cook added 10 points each. The Knights shot 52.9 percent from the field and 7 of 14 from three-point range.

“Our preparation from Sunday night film to walk-through today to pregame meal was extraordinary,” Davenport said. “I’m very proud of them.”

The Knights, who improved to 15-1, 6-1 in the GLVC with their 51st straight home-court victory, face Drury on Thursday night at home in Knights Hall. Tipoff is 8 p.m.

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