By Spencer Brown, Staff Writer
The Bellarmine Knights snapped their three-game losing streak –their longest since 2014– with a 73-65 home win over the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS) Thursday night.
The Knights (19-3, 9-3 Great Lakes Valley Conference) entered the game with senior starters Chivarsky Corbett (ankle) and Daniel Ramser (knee) out with injuries. The Prairie Stars (13-11, 6-8 GLVC) also were shorthanded as leading scorer Gilwan Nelson missed the game due to injury.
Ben Weyer led the Knights with his career-high 23 points. Weyer hit 6-of-13 from the floor, including 5-of-11 shooting from the 3-point line, and grabbed nine rebounds. Freshman Dylan Penn, who played an increased role due to injuries, sank a perfect 3-of-3 shots from the field and 6-of-6 free throws.
Senior guard Vince Walker came off the bench and led UIS with 16 points. Junior Peyton Allen added 12 points and knocked down a couple of 3-pointers.
Bellarmine rolled early as Weyer nailed a 3-pointer on the Knights’ first possession, and their stifling defense helped them hold the lead all game.
“In the first half I thought we played…really good defense,” Weyer said.
UIS cut the deficit to one with 13:32 left in the first half before Weyer nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to make it a 5-point game.
With 6:20 left in the first half, the Knights attacked the boards and knocked down six straight free throws during a 12-3 run. Bellarmine entered halftime with a 37-24 lead.
In the second half, Bellarmine built a 52-35 lead with 13:55 remaining. However, UIS went on a 15-2 run to cut Bellarmine’s lead to four with 10 minutes left.
“In the first half (UIS) couldn’t get up a three and in the second (half) they shot 7-for-23…and that allowed them to get back,” Bellarmine head coach Scott Davenport said.
The Prairie Stars’ comeback attempt was squashed as the Knights knocked down free throw after free throw, shooting 87 percent from the line for the night.
Bellarmine hosts McKendree University (9-14, 5-9 GLVC) Saturday at 3:15 p.m.