No. 1 Knights pull off 72-69 victory
Courtesy of Bellarmine Athletics
ROMEOVILLE, Ill.--The No. 1 Bellarmine University men's basketball team survived a stern test from the Lewis Flyers, coming away with a 72-69 victory in a Great Lakes Valley Conference contest at Neil Carey Arena.
The Knights were pushed to the limit as Lewis led most of the way, but Bellarmine scored the final six points of the game--including going 4-4 from the free throw line in the last 54 seconds--to notch their 10th win of the year.
Down 69-66 with 2:09 to play, Bellarmine's Braydon Hobbs pulled the Knights to within one at the 1:48 mark. After a key defensive stop, senior forward Justin Benedetti was fouled and made a pair of free throws with 54 ticks left to give the Knights a slim 1-point lead.
The Flyers came down and missed a 3-point attempt, but Marty Strus grabbed the offensive rebound for the home team. Following timeouts by both squads, Dennis Thomas, Jr., put up a potential go ahead bucket with about five seconds remaining, and when it missed, Bellarmine's Jeremy Kendle claimed the rebound after tying up a Lewis player.
On the ensuing possession, Kendle was fouled, and the senior from Jeffersonville, Ind., calmly drained both free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining. A last gasp 3-point attempt by Lewis' Thomas fell short and the Knights earned the victory.
Benedetti led the Knights offensively with 19 points, and he also hauled in seven rebounds. Hobbs had a solid all around performance totaling 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists on the night.
The Flyers' Thomas led all scorers with 24 points.
Bellarmine struggled for most of the first period as the Flyers jumped out to a nine-point lead just over halfway through the first half. After the Knights came back to claim a -point lead, Lewis re-asserted themselves and took a 38-33 lead into halftime.
After the break, the Knights came out and carved into the Lewis lead and drew into a tie seven and a half minutes into the second period. Bellarmine established their biggest lead of the game (five points) at the 7:11 mark, but Lewis scored eight unanswered points to surge ahead by three.
For the game, Lewis outrebounded the Knights 34-31, but Bellarmine owned advantages in all shooting categories.
The win pushes Bellarmine's overall mark to 10-1, including 3-0 in the GLVC. Lewis falls to 8-6, 1-2 GLVC.