I finally got a chance to head over to that little gem of a gym on Norris Place, Knights Hall, to watch Bellarmine take on a thuggish Tusculum Pioneer squad.
The homies prevailed, 71-59.
Before the game I asked about for reasons why the Knights have thus far fallen way short of the lofty pre-season expectations. Remember, some were calling them the best Division II squad in the land. They might well be eventually. But tonight’s W was just their 7th of the season, against four numbing losses, two in the conference and one at home to IUS.
Seems there any number of contributing factors to the Knights’ slow start. Injuries. Loss of team leader, Chartrael Hall, who led the team in points and assists and ran the offense. Plus the failure of anybody to step forward yet to fill that leadership role. As good as he is, Braydon Hobbs is reluctant at the #1 spot. But they seem to be rounding into shape.
Sooner or later it will become frosh Chris Dowe’s team. But it’s surely later. Probably no sooner than next season.
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Anyway the Knights looked fine Monday. But they aren’t as crisp at either end as they were last season.
But they’re tough and resilient. BU was up 23-17 when Justin Benedetti went down with an ankle sprain at the 6:08 mark in the 1st. The Pioneers scored 5 straight to pull within a point.
Then one of the orange clad visitors punched Jeremy Kendle in the nuts. The officials didn’t see the transgression. The Knights closed out the half with a 10 zed run, capped by a Dowe trey at the buzzer. Then they scored the first six of the second half, two on FTs for a technical on the Tusculum bench, and 2 on free throws for an intentional foul when Kyle Moore, the visitor’s leading scorer, tripped a Knight on purpose.
Bellarmine generally cruised in from that 39-23 advantage.
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One of the things I love about Bellarmine’s team is it’s led by three Hoosiers, Braydon Hobbs, Justin Benedetti and Jeremy Kendle. Those sunnysiders got good high school coaching. Most Indiana high schoolers do. It makes sense that Scotty Davenport and The Rick have looked up I-65 while recruiting recently. Another thing I love is fundamentals. Kevin Allen actually drew an over the back foul on a rebound, simply by blocking out the old fashioned way. He stuck his butt in the opponent’s tummy, staying between the Tusculum guy and the hoop.
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Knights Hall is still the sweetest spot in town to watch college hoops. Great atmosphere, even Monday when there was no pep band and the students were home on Christmas break.
This year’s addition to the proceedings is The Nutty Professor mascot. Part Dome Ranger — Remember the Syracuse guy at the Carrier Dome, dressed like the Lone Ranger in orange — part Max Patkin, the guy wears a lab coat, high top Chucks in different colors, a stupid heat, leggings and a mask that makes him look like Marty Feldman as Igor in “Young Frankenstein.”
And, unlike those who come to Freedom Hall for the Cards, the fans stay until the end of the game. The clock was stopped with :21 to go and Bellarmine up 12. There was no rush to the exits. Something kind of charming about that.
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Yes, yes, I know. Kentucky became the first school to 2000 Ws by doubling the tally against that academic school Drexel. Good for them. Congrats.
Hats off to the program The Baron built. There are certainly more wins to come.
– Seedy K