There is no Russian Judge to please. It’s not figure skating. There is no hip hop Judge to please. It’s not a dunk contest.
All that matters is that you stalwartly win your way a game at a time through the NCAA tournament to the title game. Then outscore your opponent.
That is what the inexorable Bellarmine Knights have done.
No matter what else happens to any of these kids in their lifetime, they will be secure in this one indelible fact: They are national champions.
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The final performance of this meant to be season was not a thing of beauty. Frankly, the second act was not very artful.
I’ve had to explain to a couple of friends since the game concluded how this was perhaps the worst game I’ve seen the Knights play in the last couple years.
When you play for your first national title, nervousness happens. Don’t believe me? Go back and watch the tapes of U of L’s W over UCLA in ’80.
Bellarmine has played consistently impeccable b-ball throughout the post season. Until today. That they were able to win the game while playing out of character is a sign of character.
* * * * *
So I shan’t pick nits.
Here are the moments that won the game.
The last flurry of the first half. Kendle trey. Hobbs steal. Benedetti lay up. Instead of being one down at the break, the Knights were up 4.
Luke Sprague’s rebound after a missed FT with 12:32 to play, resulting in Jet Chang’s fourth foul.
Sprague’s triple to beat the shot clock for an 8 point lead at 6:41.
Chris Dowe’s deuce for a 68-65 lead with :55 to play.
Jeremy Kendle’s FT with 9.4 seconds, and another by Nick Holmes with a couple of ticks on the clock, for a three point margin, forcing BYU-H to go for a three on the final possession.
Kendle and Dowe each tallied 16 for Bellarmine. Sprague had a double-double, 10 points, 11 boards.
Jet Chang finished with 35. And the Most Outstanding Player award.
Bellarmine finished with a three point victory, which means the Knights are the Most Outstanding Team. How appropriate.
Let it roll off your tongue. Scott Davenport’s Bellarmine Knights are National Champions.
– Seedy K