LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On paper, the matchup between No. 3 Bellarmine and No. 8 Northern Kentucky looked as if it would be an offensive battle, but instead a defensive struggle ensued with Bellarmine pulling out a 64-60 victory in front of a sellout Knights Hall crowd in a classic Great Lakes Valley Conference game.
|TOP 25 SCORES|
|No. 7 S. Indiana 72, No. 2 Ky. Wesleyan 57|
|No. 3 Bellarmine 64, No. 8 Northern Kentucky 60|
|No. 12 Bowie State 69, Livingstone 64|
Bellarmine never trailed in the game and led by as many as 13, but the gritty Norse would not give in and closed to within 62-60 with just 13 seconds remaining. The Knights’ Chris Dowe iced the victory with two free throws with nine seconds remaining. Northern Kentucky did get off one last shot but Ethan Faulkner’s jumper sailed over the rim and Jelani Johnson claimed his eighth rebound of the game to secure the victory.
Despite both Bellarmine and Northern Kentucky coming in as two of the best offensive teams in the nation, neither team shot better than 50 percent. Bellarmine held the Norse to just 42.1 percent from the field, and the Knights could manage just 46.9 percent.
Perhaps the most telling statistic to illustrate Bellarmine’s defensive effort was holding the Norse to just six of 24 shooting from beyond the arc for just 25 percent. NKU entered the game as the best shooting 3-point team in the nation.
The Knights once again spread the wealth when it came to scoring. Jeremy Kendle led all scorers with 16 points with Chris Dowe chipping in 15. The Norse were led by Jon Van Hoose, who had 14 points, including four, 3-pointers.
Bellarmine’s win, combined with a Kentucky Wesleyan loss, pulls the Knights into a 3-way tie for the lead in the GLVC East. The Knights, KWC and Southern Indiana all own identical 14-1 overall records and all are 6-1 in league play. The Norse (13-2) slip into a tie for fourth with Indianapolis with a conference mark of 5-2.