Once again Bellarmine trotted to the locker room at the break down 2. This time to Midwestern State, fresh off three Ws in a row over ranked teams, which had zoomed off to a 10-2 advantage at the start.
The Mustangs kept Scotty Davenport’s team at bay in the second half.
Until a flurry by the Knights gave them a 54-50 lead.
Which they soon surrendered when Midwestern State tallied 8 in a row.
The Knights fought back, grabbing the advantage again at 59-58.
Then came the biggest possession of the game. At the 3:06 mark, Bellarmine’s relentless D forced a shot clock violation. It was a sign the Mustangs were toast.
Dowe then hit 1 of 2 at the line. 60-58.
At 1:46, Dowe converted two more. 62-58.
Midwestern State cracked. Star Chris Hagan missed two free tosses at 1:33.
Jeremy Kendle scored Bellarmine’s final eight points. Playing less than spectacularly most of the game, the All-American still tallied 20 with 8 boards. (Justin Benedetti led the team with 21.)
When Midwestern hit a meaningless trey with 7 seconds to play, it was its first field goal in 6:40. Against a taller, quicker, more athletic foe, Bellarmine played clamp down D when it mattered. Discipline, technique, desire, inevitability — that’s what won the game.
Of course, Bellarmine never faltered at the offensive end, running the motion offense like it was putting on a clinic against the intramural champs to be used in an instructional video.
I watched the second half online. During that time, I can think of two mistakes by BU. Twice, Chris Dowe had his foot on the sideline when receiving a pass. Other than that, the Knights were pretty darned impeccable.
Bellarmine now meets Minnesota State-Mankato in the national semis tomorrow night (Thursday) at 6:00 p.m. The Mavericks bested Alabama-Huntsville in OT. You can watch the game at CBS College Sports (Insight 531 in Louisville) and online at ncaa.com.
– Seedy K