Knights Slay Dragons: Bellarmine Rolls into National Semis

BellarmineOh mercy, she was a headline writers dream, wasn’t she?

Bellarmine Knights 92, Minnesota State-Moorhead Dragons 75.

Knights. Dragons. The former winning readily easily over the latter. Slaying them, if you will. And I do.

You get it?

Of course you do.

If only it was so easy all the time.

* * * * *

What wasn’t quite so easy was watching the game.

While tonight’s Division II national semi-finals in Evansville will be televised on CBS Sports Network (TWC HD, Channel 968), last night’s viewing required a computer.

And, as if we need yet another thing the NCAA does to complain about, we got one. Whereas watching a streaming game on ESPN is in HD, and one can go full screen without losing much fidelity, that wasn’t the case with yesterday’s Div II quarter-finals, airing at

The little bitty picture was fine. But, when expanded to full screen, fidelity faltered, extreme pixelation ensued, and I couldn’t hit the Esc key fast enough. My septuagenarian eyes faltered as the game progressed.

Which plaint is proffered for the less than fully astute analysis to follow.

* * * * *

What I can advise is this.

Scotty Davenport’s Knights have been tourney tough. They’ve won their first four NCAA games by an average margin of 19 ppg. Smokin’.

While past performance does not guarantee future results, especially with a battle against top-ranked Florida Southern, dead ahead in tonight’s semi-final, Bellarmine’s rolling along like a finely-tuned machine. Which course it shall need to stay, since the Moccasins snakebit the Knights on Norris Place earlier this season in OT.

* * * * *

The Knights were strokin’ from the get go against MSM.

They hit their first five shots — a Chris Whitehead J, a George Suggs trey, another deuce by CW, a Josh Derksen long ball and a Jake Thelan lay up — and a couple JT FTs, for a 14-9 lead.

The vanquished Dragons never got closer than four the rest of the way.

In the second half, MSM pulled within 5 at 53-48 with 17:26 to play.

At which juncture, Bellarmine closed the door with this stun run: Derksen three, Rusty Troutman three, A Derksen dunk and layups by Whitehead and Thelan. Without a counter by the shell shocked Dragons, thanks to airtight D by the Knights.

65-48. Ball game.

MSM never got closer than unlucky 13 the rest of the way.

* * * * *

Bellarmine hit 14 of its first 19 FG attempts. 74%. Glossy.

At they half, the Knights had “cooled” to 68%, including 3/6 from downtown.

The Knights were “only” 18/33 after the break.

Coming into the game, MSM’s Jordan Riewer was the sharpest shooter in the land, hitting 49% from long range on the season (101/207), 52% in league play.

Against the Knights’ stellar D, he shot an inconsequential 1/6 from beyond the arc. His mates couldn’t take up the slack.

* * * * *

The usual suspects lit it up for Bellarmine.

Jake Thelan, All-American. 26 points. 8 rebounds. 4 assists.

Chris Whitehead. 18 points. 5 assists.

Rusty Troutman. 11 points. 4 boards. 3 assists.

Josh Derksen. 18 points.

* * * * *

Tonight, Bellarmine will seek revenge and, more important, a spot in the national title tilt. Florida Southern, an 81-70 victor over Southern New Hampshire, is the familiar foe.

The other semi-final, which tips first, pits Tarleton State vs. Indiana (Pa.).

— Seedy K

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