Knight Time is the Right Time: Bellarmine Motors On

During a timeout with 12:33 to play in Bellarmine’s coulda woulda shoulda mighta been more definitve homecourt W over Top 10 co-inhabitant Northern Kentucky last night, coach Scotty Davenport had a play in mind when coming out of the stoppage.

Knight ace Jeremy Kendle, who is to Davenport as Billy Donovan was to Rick Pitino at Providence, had another set in mind. Davenport mulled over the suggestion throughout the timeout. When his charges were returning to the court, he gave Kendle the go ahead for his call. After the perfect execution of which, and the Knights once double digit lead increasing by the deuce to 6, Kendle ran into defensive position smiling at his coach.

Having a leaders like Kendle (and Braydon Hobbs) on the court is a good thing when you are trying to repeat as national champs.

Not that Davenport doesn’t know what he’s doing.

That six point advantage had increased by another bucket at 48-40. Coming out of the media timeout @ 9:46 — which they have even though the games aren’t televised — Davenport yelled at his troops, “Get the next score.”

Problem: The Norse had the ball.

No problem. Bellarmine stole the ball. Chris Dowe brought down the house with a monster slam on an alley opp from Hobbs.

* * * * *

Though Bellarmine never relinquished the lead, their up river rivals never surrendered. Dowe completed a couple +1s in the last :38 to seal the 64-60 W.

The score should indicate the defensive intensity by both schools, since each averages well above 80 ppg on the season.

* * * * *

The Knights stand 14-1 on the year. NKU is 13-2 and will welcome Bellarmine to its house in the regular season finale on February 23.

At which point, these NCAA Division II rivals may be only halfway through their encounters this season, before Northern Ky moves up a level to Division I next season. They could meet again in the GLVC tournament. And then again, because of the cockamamie way the NCAA seeds this division’s post season tourney, in that Dance.

Kind of incestuous, I would opine.

* * * * *

This was the first time I’ve seen the Knights this season since their exhibition against U of L in the Yum!.

They remain as impressive as ever.

I’ve said it before, and I now repeat. There is not a team at any level that I’ve seen in the last three seasons that executes its offense with as much precision and movement as the Knights. It is an old school pleasure to watch.

They scored on their first possession of the game on a perfectly executed back door ending in a +1. When they later ran a classic high post give and go to perfection for a wide open layup, I intoned, “This is Clair Bee basketball.”

Sitting next to me, Catholicsportsnet.com’s Paul Najjar corrected, “Naismith.”

It’s simply a pleasure to watch a team get into its offensive sets with such ease and speed. Players are always in their spots, keeping the court spread and all options open. Crisp passing. Delightful.

This year’s Bellarimine squad is even more undersized than the recent past, but still play severly intense half court defense. Last night, they held the Norse to 26 points under their average, while outrebounding the taller, longer, more athletic visitors by a board.

* * * * *

It will take a Herculean effort for Bellarmine to repeat, playing as they do in the nation’s best league which features four Top 10 squads.

As I mentioned, the Knights are a bit undersized, especially with Richie Phares out with a concussion. They took the floor last night with four guards and a forward.

* * * * *

I’m not sure how I forget from year to year what fun it is to watch a game from the friendly confines of Knights Hall?

Reasonably priced, delectably and suitably stale popcorn sold by honest to Betsy students at the concession stands. The pep band is also all students. B-Boy McCoy does his funky dances before the game and during the break. The whole crowd sings the National Anthem. All that and new garb for the Bellarmine Knight mascot, who high fived and chest bumped fans on the way out after the victory.

It’s just fun.

When Patrick Crush, an assistant to SID John Spugnardi, asked if I had trouble finding a place to park, I had to laugh, having trudged from a spot on Alfresco across Norris Place, which was, oh, all of a hundred yards from the front door.

* * * * *

There are three more chances to catch the Knights at home in the next ten days. Lewis visits this Thursday the 19th at 8:00. Wisconsin Parkside is here at 3:15 on 1/21, followed by always tough Southern Indiana at 8:00 on 1/26.

– Seedy K

4 Comments

  1. bob
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Scotty Devenport is not only a good coach he is a nice guy.

  2. Bobby Bellarmine
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    In spite of the defensive intensity (and it was not home cookin’) Knights only committed nine fouls one of which was a throw-away at the end. NKU never got in the bonus either half. Knights always in position both offensively AND defensively.
    Need one more player in the rotation and that is Richie……

  3. cbcard
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Wonder if Pitino has ever let a player call a play.

  4. fred
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Only the ones that didn’t work.

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