LOUISIVILLE, Ky. – Sixth-ranked Southern Indiana could not hold a first-half lead as it fell to second-ranked Bellarmine 84-79 on Thursday night. USI, which was 3-2 during the five-game road swing, falls to 21-4 overall and 13-4 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, while Bellarmine goes to 24-1, 17-0 GLVC.
The Screaming Eagles soared out to a 17-7 lead in the first four minutes of the game. USI was blistering the nets during the opening minutes, hitting seven consecutive field goals.
The Knights battled back and cut the Eagles’ lead to one at 24-23 with 7:26 left before halftime. USI rebuilt the lead to seven points three times before settling for a 41-37 advantage at the intermission.
The Eagles were able to maintain their halftime lead through the first five minutes of the second half, but the Knights took their first lead of the game at 51-49 with 14:46 to play. USI stayed close and was able regain the advantage twice, first at 63-62 and then 65-64 with nearly five minutes left.
Bellarmine slipped back into the lead at 66-65 and led the rest of the way. Trailing 70-68 and 72-70, USI had several chances to retake the lead in the final minutes, but was unable to convert.
Southern Indiana senior guard C.J. Trotter had a game-high 24 points. Trotter, who had 15 points in the first half, was 9 of 17 from the field, including five 3-point field goals, and converted his only trip to the free throw line.
Senior forward Nick Duncheon followed Trotter in the scoring column with 12 points, while senior center Mohamed Ntumba and senior guard Kevin Gant deposited 11 points and 10 points, respectively.