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Seedy K’s GameCap: Bellarmine

There was an inevitability to this.

Your scribe has told the story, yet does so again in part. For it informs Bellarmine’s first ever W over Louisville.

After this opener was announced, he saw Scotty Davenport last summer on his jog near the Reservoir off Frankfort Avenue. Out the window, he yelled in jest to his old pal, “You need to get U of L to play you all in Freedom Hall.”

Davenport’s demeanor turned on a bitcoin from Hail Fellow Well Met to Apoplectic.

“It’ll never happen . . . ever . . . they’re only playing us because of the volleyball deal . . . “

Even though, like Louisville, his Knights are undergoing a rebuild, Scotty smelled blood in the water.

Davenport knew his chance to vent those frustrations was last night. He had his team ready.

Bellarmine 67, Louisville 66.

* * * * *

The issue that will likely plague U of L all season was apparent last night.

The Cards are a ball handling PG or two short.

El Ellis played forty minutes. Has a Louisville baller ever played every minute of every game? Surely not. EE might.

So, with no rest, and the burden of running the team every second of every game, he is going to wear down. He will not be at peak form with the game winding down.

It will take its toll.

* * * * *

Down 11 at halftime, Louisville had the worst possible start in the 2d.

For context, this from the 1st.

In the opening stanza, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield was the only Cardinal with a significant +11 in +/- stat line. He opened the tilt with a trey during the Cards’ first possession. Then snared got strong rebounds on the ensuing two possessions.

He was a presence, bringing what he’s been taught in practice to the game.

But he got a second foul too early and had to sit most of half.

Then on the first possession after the break, he was called for a charge. He had to sit. His effectiveness, his aggressiveness, were compromised.

He still ended up with double digit rebounds (10), 9 points, 3 assists.

Had he been able to play more, who knows the outcome with BHH’s inside presence/ outside threat?

In a one point L, he was +24 in only 21:28 minutes of PT.

* * * * *

Mike James is another newcomer Cardinal whose performance was heartening.

He was the only other Card with a double digit +/- at +13.

The Cardinals were simply better offensively when MJ was on the floor.

* * * * *

The game was lost at the defensive end, as Coach Kenny Payne made clear in his post game comments.

Bellarmine ran its motion offense to near perfection most of the game.

Back door. Back door. Back door.

Which allowed the Knights to get open passages to the hoop. Lots of two shot FT opportunities. Even though the fouls called were relatively even, the victors were +7 at the charity stripe.

Knights 18/22.

Cardinals 11/14.

* * * * *

The saddest part of the evening to this observer was seeing a significant portion of the fans exiting with 5 minutes still to play.

The most heartening part of the evening, other than a display of improvement despite the L, was that Louisville never quit.

They pulled within a digit, Had chances to escape. But simply didn’t.

It was Bellarmine’s night.

There was an inevitability to that.

— c d kaplan