CRAWFORD | Still rolling: Upset of Liberty has Bellarmine on doorstep of a D-1 conference title | Sports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Let us connect with this the audacity of luggage. The Bellarmine men’s basketball group packed for the long haul prior to leaving for Saturday night’s ASUN semifinal video game at Liberty. They intended to get, and figured they could have to travel on to Jacksonville, Ala., for the tournament championship.

Forget about that Liberty experienced never ever lost an ASUN Event sport. Overlook that Bellarmine was traveling 8 and a fifty percent hrs immediately after a 9 p.m. end on Thursday to participate in at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Ignore how fantastic Liberty is at home.

Neglect all that, mainly because none of it mattered. The group that packed its baggage to keep on taking part in will, in truth, keep on taking part in.

Bellarmine 53, Liberty 50.

The Knights will retain the odometer rolling on their 2021-22 season, but the only journey they will have to do after Saturday’s upset is again home – in which they will deal with Jacksonville at 5 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN2 for the ASUN championship — right after the Dolphins knocked off Jacksonville Condition in the other semifinal.

The journey again to Louisville will roll the season’s mileage whole around 17,000,

Right after the match, Davenport stated he claimed only two terms to his group, “Thank you.”

I am not confident I think Davenport could confine himself to two text, but I know that gratitude is the real factor. I texted him just after the recreation. This was his response.

Davenport text

Scott Davenport’s textual content reply to Eric Crawford immediately after beating Liberty in the ASUN semifinals.

How hungry is this team to preserve likely? They were being scheduled to have a 10 a.m. film session on Friday soon after Thursday night’s 9 p.m. finish and subsequent cure. Every single participant was in the gymnasium and completely ready to go by 9:15. Video started early. The bus still left early.

The massive takeaway from this is that, for applications reclassifying from Division II to Division I, this things just doesn’t occur. Bellarmine is participating in for an ASUN tournament championship for a next straight year.

A single far more earn would be No. 20 for the Knights, who opened their time on the road against five groups now ranked in the AP Top 25.

The team that packed for achievements this weekend, identified it. And a team of 5 seniors who desperately want to retain participating in alongside one another keeps discovering a way. It is not astonishing. The group will depart Bellarmine with a combined 8 university levels afterwards this spring.

“That was an epic faculty basketball activity,” Davenport stated. “I’m not stating it was a detail of natural beauty. But in phrases of actively playing the game from a respect amount, It was outstanding.”

Bellarmine shot to a 14-2 guide at the start out, then went scoreless for 9 minutes. Liberty countered with a run and led 23-18 at halftime. A brief start off in the 2nd half set them up 10 after a 3-pointer by ASUN player of the calendar year Darius McGhee produced it 31-21 two minutes into the half.

The Knights responded. 3 straight details by Ethan Claycomb. Back again-to-again layups by Dylan Penn, the first off an offensive rebound by CJ Fleming, the second off a steal and support by Juston Betz. Inside of 90 seconds, Bellarmine had its deficit down to 3, and 30 seconds right after that it was tied on a 3-pointer by Penn.

From that stage on, the premier direct by both staff was 5. In the final 8:31, it was a one-possession game the full way. Neither staff led by far more than 3.

A steal by Betz with 28 seconds left was the vital. Off of that, Claycomb manufactured two no cost throws to place Bellarmne up 3. Adhering to a Liberty score, Fleming manufactured two a lot more, and McGhee’s late heave from 3 bounced off.

In the next fifty percent, Penn and Fleming merged for 27 of Bellarmine’s 35 factors. Coached by a previous Tony Bennett assistant, Liberty’s pack line defense thwarts the gorgeous video game Bellarmine likes to play. On Saturday, they had only 7 helps as a team. But the acquire continue to was a point of magnificence for their mentor. One particular activity just after building 15 a few-tips, Bellarmine was back to its bread and butter – attacking the lane, with Penn earning acrobatic shots with both hand.

“That was a difficult one. Really assumed Bellarmine performed a heck of a recreation and deserved to gain,” Liberty mentor Ritchie McKay mentioned. “I really like this team. Our guys are unbelievable persons, unbelievable staff, selfless in character and no much better illustration of that than the guy to my proper [McGhee]. I’m disappointed we never get to go again to the NCAA Match, but proud of our team and their energy tonight and this time.”

Bellarmine could go on to do larger games this year. But it may perhaps not play yet another game that players bear in mind much more 20 yrs from now than the a person they played Saturday night at Liberty.

“Experience teaches you as these games go up, and groups are far more and extra acquainted, factors are likely to get a minor more conservative, because the stakes increase,” Davenport claimed. “But the way the video game began, I considered it was going to be a shootout. And then video game alterations to a possession-form sport. I consider it truly is a credit score to both equally teams’ defense. I will not think it was by structure. I know it wasn’t on our conclusion. I assume it can be just a credit rating to their protection that we experienced to match that with defense on our conclude.”

And the Knights, who nevertheless are not qualified for NCAA Match engage in since of their reclassification, are a single gain at residence away from securing an NIT bid.

They are, for all practical purposes, Louisville’s workforce when it arrives to Division I postseason basketball this period. They ought to have a groundswell of support at Flexibility Corridor on Tuesday. Bellarmine and Jacksonville achieved the moment in the normal year with the Knights pulling out a 73-70 overtime victory in Freedom Corridor.

“We are unable to engage in in the tournament, but we can nonetheless perform for a league championship and an NIT bid,” Penn explained. “Which is anything we are unable to regulate. But we can control our work, our energy, heading into this recreation on Tuesday. And which is what we are hunting ahead to. You know, we just transitioned from Division II to Division I. And as coach states, this is just not normal. A large amount of groups will not make this transition the way we have. So we truly want to go out there and compete and clearly show everybody we belong at this degree.”

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By Harriet