The Knights rolled past the Gamecocks in the second half for a 75-62 ASUN victory

JACKSONVILLE, Ala.—The Bellarmine men’s basketball team found itself in a 10-point deficit early in the second half at Jacksonville State, but the Knights ramped up their defensive intensity and knocked down open shots in steamrolling past the Gamecocks and claiming a 75- 62 ASUN Conference victory in Pete Mathews Coliseum on Saturday night.

Bellarmine drained 14 of 29 triples, including seven of 12 in the second period, and forced 17 Jacksonville State turnovers to get the win. The Knights outscored the Gamecocks 43-25 in the second half.

Down 42-32 at the 19:05 mark of the final period, Bellarmine unleashed a 20-5 run on the Gamecocks to take a 52-47 lead with 10:43 remaining. From there, the Knights simply kept the momentum moving by pressuring the ball defensively, rebounding, and converting on the offensive end. In one span of just over three minutes in the second period, the Knights forced six JSU turnovers as Bellarmine owned a 13-2 advantage in the second half in points off turnovers.

Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport said the game turned on the Knights’ second half rebounding. “I can break the game down,” he said, “and we I think we’re minus five (in rebounding) the first half, and we outrebound them three in the second half…that’s the game right there.”

Davenport said another big reason for the Bellarmine comeback was simply shooting. “A big difference was that in the first half we had great shots, we just didn’t hit them. But in the second half, we made them.”

Leading the way for Bellarmine was Garrett Tipton with a game-high 21 points. The redshirt senior, who poured in a career-high 27 points on Thursday, was 6-for-9 from the field, including 3-of-4 from downtown, and made all six of his charity tosses.

Graduate student Justin Betz also had an impressive game with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. sophomore Curt Hopf added 10 points, six rebounds and three steals, and Alec Priem chipped in 13 points while handing out a team-high four assists. Freshman Peter Suder tied Hopf for game-high honors with six rebounds and scored nine points.

Davenport said there were many outstanding performances tonight. “I could single out a lot of people, but Alec, Garrett and Juston’s leadership down the stretch was phenomenal.”

Bellarmine ended the game shooting 53 percent from the field, thanks to a second half effort that saw the Knights make 14 of 22 shots overall.

The Gamecocks (7-10, 0-4 ASUN) started the game on fire. At the first half’s “under 12” timeout, JSU was 7-of-12 from the field and 4-of-8 from downtown. However, by game’s end, Jacksonville State’s shooting percentage finished at 47.9 percent and its 3-point shooting cooled to 36.7 percent (11 of 30). Demaree King paced the JSU offense with 16 points with Bowling Green, Kentucky native Skyelar Potter adding 14.

Bellarmine (7-10, 2-2 ASUN) returns to action on Thursday when it plays the first of back-to-back games at Freedom Hall by hosting ASUN co-leader Stetson. On Saturday the Knights will stay home to play the FGCU Eagles.

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