October 28th, 2018

Louisville turns back Bellarmine

John Spugnardi

Bellarmine University S.I.D.


Louisville turns back Bellarmine
Adam Eberhard faces UofL's Jordan Nwora in today's exhibition / photo provided by Bellarmine athletics

The host Louisville Cardinals outlasted the Bellarmine Knights 71-60 in front of an announced crowd of 14,377 at the KFC Yum! Center today as both schools opened their seasons with an exhibition game.

As the opening game, perhaps it wasn't a surprise that both teams started cold, combining to make just two of the game's first 25 shots. The slow start translated to a low-scoring first half with the Cardinals going on a late 10-0 run to take a 26-18 lead at the intermission.

After the break, Louisville extended its lead to 11, but Bellarmine answered with a 9-0 run to trim the margin to one at 36-35.  The Knights eventually inched ahead by one at the 12:29 mark, but the turning point of the game came moments later when the Cards connected on three consecutive 3-pointers to establish a 49-40 lead with 9:41 remaining.

The Knights couldn't fully recover but did claw back to get within five with 41 seconds left. However, the Cardinals hit their free throws in final half minute to make the final margin 11.

"We've had 11 days of practice, so we are thrilled," said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport after the game. "We must play a lot cleaner to play better." However, Davenport was pleased with his team's effort. "When you don't have to coach desire, it's a lot of fun to coach, and we never have to do that with these guys," he said.

Bellarmine senior Adam Eberhard, a two-time and preseason All-American, turned in a solid performance, leading all scorers with 21 while yanking down six rebounds and dishing out three assists.  Teammate Ben Weyer tossed in 14 points and posted a team-high four assists.

Louisville's VJ King led a quartet of Louisville double-digit scorers with 17 while Jordan Nwora just a missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Cardinal Head Coach Chris Mack credited Bellarmine for challenging his team's defense. "They run an offense that's very difficult to guard," he said. "The ball. It's hopping. Their players were cutting. Their fours and fives play more on the perimeter than they do on the post, so they can get a mismatch."

Davenport also gave credit to his opponents. "I cannot simulate Steven Enoch in practice. Or Jordan Nwora. Or VJ King. We can't do that. But this just makes us better," he said. "I was incredibly proud of our team defense."

 

Bellarmine held the Cardinals to 39.1 percent shooting, forced 20 turnovers and limited UofL to just two second chance points.  However, the Knights made just 34.6 percent from the field and committed 19 turnovers. The silver lining for BU in the turnover department is only seven came after halftime.

Thirteen different Knights got playing time with Alex Cook, Chivarsky Corbett, Daniel Ramser and Tyler Jenkins joining Eberhard in the starting lineup.

Bellarmine, the No. 1-ranked team in DII Bulletin's preseason poll, plays one more exhibition before embarking on the regular season at Saginaw Valley on Nov. 9.

The Knights' final exhibition comes this Thursday night when Bellarmine hosts Division III Wabash College at 7 p.m. in Knights Hall.

 

 

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