01/23/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/24/2020 00:28
The Knights came out scorching Thursday night against Southwest Baptist, ambushing the visiting Bearcats in surging to a 26-12 lead en route to an 86-60 throttling in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
'We finally played 40 minutes,' Knights Coach said. 'I was proud of them. Southwest Baptist is a good team.'
The opening period was exactly the response Dugan wanted to see from the Knights (10-6, 5-4 GLVC), who had suffered back-to-back losses to Lindenwood and UIndy, the latter in which they were shut out in an extra frame. Bellarmine came pretty close to matching its point total against the Greyhounds (53) in the first half alone versus Southwest Baptist (9-8, 3-6) after building a 47-31 advantage.
'We were coming off two tough games and had some injuries that affected our rotation. I thought our mental toughness was really good tonight,' Dugan said. 'We bounced back. In practice, everybody was fully invested in what we were doing.'
Season bests abounded for Bellarmine after a sublime offensive performance. The Knights set new barometers for field-goal percentage (58.3), field goals made (35) and assists (23). The point total was Bellarmine's second highest of the season behind the 89 it scored in an overtime win at McKendree.
'We just worked on us (in practice),' Dugan said. 'You have to understand where good shots are going to come from. Sometimes that takes a while. Also, when we're not hesitating, we make shots.'
Bellarmine made a bunch in the first quarter. They sank 10-of-13 shots in the period for a sizzling 76.9 percent in racing out to a 26-12 lead. Junior guard buried all three of her 3-point attempts in the frame.
Southwest Baptist never got closer than 12 after the first quarter. Bellarmine held a 47-31 advantage at halftime, and the Knights led by at least 20 for the majority of the third quarter.
Five different players scored in double figures for Bellarmine. Junior forward came off the bench to lead Bellarmine with a season-high 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting. Jeffries collected 16 points behind four 3-pointers, sophomore forward had 14 and eight rebounds, junior guard chipped in 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, and senior guard registered 10 points and six assists.
In addition, senior forward hauled in eight rebounds and had three steals while sophomore guard dished out four assists. Bellarmine's exceptional passing included during fast-break opportunities; the Knights outscored Southwest Baptist 13-0 in that area along with 24-11 in points off turnovers.
'I thought we had them on their heels,' Dugan said. 'I thought our young kids did a good job of coming in and playing tough defense.'
Bellarmine hosts No. 1 Drury at 1 p.m. (ET) Saturday.
Said Dugan: 'It's an opportunity to play the best team in the nation on our home court. We'll see what we've got.'
For more coverage of Bellarmine athletics, follow us on Twitter (@BUKnights), Instagram (BUKnights) and Facebook (BUKnights).