The dream of finishing undefeated in the ever tough GLVC proved to tough to come true. Bellarmine’s winning streak was snapped last night by perennial Division II power Kentucky Wesleyan. A Previous commitment prevented me from attending. The Spugs Report:
Kentucky Wesleyan upsets Bellarmine 94-86
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The No. 2 Bellarmine University men’s basketball team had no answer for Kentucky Wesleyan’s Cardell McFarland, who had a career high and Knights Hall record 47 points, as the Panthers hung a 94-86 loss on the Knights tonight in both teams’ regular season finales.
The loss snapped Bellarmine’s 16-game winning streak and dashed the Knights hopes of becoming the first team to post an undefeated season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
“We had a chance to make history tonight,” said Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport, but I think that just shows you how hard it is.”
The sixth year coach added, “Defensively, we just had no answers. It wasn’t that our guys didn’t try, it was just poor fundamentals.”
Bellarmine opened the game on a positive note and held a 9-point lead at the 12:40 mark of the first half. The Panthers fought back to tie it at 22 on a McFarland trey at the 8:43 mark of the first period. The triple seemed to ignite McFarland, who had scored just two points over the game’s first 11 minutes, but erupted for 45 over the final 29 minutes of the contest.
The visiting Panthers blistered the nets from all areas, shooting 58.2 percent from the field, including going 11-20 from beyond the arc. They also converted 19 of 24 from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, the Knights shot below their season average by making just 28 of 58 shots for 48.3 percent and made just seven of 24 their treys (29.2%).
Overshadowed by McFarland’s performance was a career high 31 points by Bellarmine’s Chris Dowe. The sophomore out of Louisville’s Eastern High School came off the bench to make 10 of 16 field goals and converted 11 of 15 free throw attempts.
Bellarmine finishes the regular season 24-2 with a 17-1 GLVC mark. For the Panthers, the win upped their record to 17-8 (10-8 GLVC) and gave them back-to-back wins over top 10 ranked opponents, having scored an upset of Southern Indiana on Monday night.
The Knights have secured the No. 1 seed in the GLVC tournament and will host either Wisconsin-Parkside or Rockhurst in a game at Knights Hall on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. Should Bellarmine advance, they will receive a bye into the semifinals, which will be played at Maryville University in St. Louis on March 5.
Prior to tonight’s contest, Bellarmine held senior night festivities to honor Justin Benedetti, Nick Holmes, Steve Pogue, and Forrest Smallwood. The Knights also honored Jeremy Kendle, who received a commemorative ball for eclipsing 1,000 points in Thursday’s win over Southern Indiana.
– Seedy K