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Get To Know: Bellarmine Finishes Grueling Stretch of Games at Kentucky

The legendary Scott Davenport will lead his Knights into Rupp Arena for the first ever meeting between Kentucky and Bellarmine

Here's everything you need to know about the Bellarmine Knights: 

  • Selected to finish fifth in Preseason Atlantic Sun Media Poll, sixth in Coaches Poll
  • KenPom rating: 238 (ninth among ASUN teams)
  • This will be the first ever meeting between the Bluegrass schools. 

The Record (2-5)

Notable games

  • Nov. 9: 67-66 W at Louisville
  • Nov. 18: 66-76 L at Clemson
  • Nov. 21: 74-57 L at Duke
  • Nov. 27: 81-60 L at UCLA
  • Battle tested road warriors. Bellarmine has played just one home game so far this season, traveling from North Carolina to California and now back to Kentucky on a quick turnaround to face the Wildcats. Total mileage for the Knights in this 9-day span clocks in at 5,633 miles, and that doesn't include incidental travel between hotel and other destinations such practice and team meals.
  • A four-game stretch of home games awaits the Knights following the UK game. It's clear that the challenge awaiting them inside Rupp Arena won't incite fear.
  • It should also be noted that Bellarmine hasn't been killed in these tough road games either. After beating Louisville to open the year, it played Clemson, Duke and UCLA quite closer than what most mid-major schools would at this early point in the season. The Knights are 4-2 against the spread. Kentucky is a 25-point favorite. 

The Legendary Scott Davenport

  • Scott Davenport, who in just two seasons in Division I guided Bellarmine to an ASUN Tournament title after leading the Knights to a Division II national championship, is in his 18th season as head coach. His accolades include:
  • -Career record of 400-135
  • -2022 ASUN Tournament Champion 2021 & 2022 Hugh Durham Award Finalist
  • -2021 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award Finalist
  • -2011 NCAA II National Coach of the Year
  • -2011 NCAA II Tournament Champion
  • -4 NCAA II Tournament Final Fours
  • Davenport was an assistant at Louisville from 1996-2005. He was also a renowned high school head coach at Ballard High in Louisville from 1986-96. He is a Louisville native and UofL grad. 

Local Talent Galore 

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  • Every member of the 2022-23 Bellarmine roster is from Kentucky, Indiana or Ohio.
  • There are four Kentuckians on the team, including one Lexington native returning to his hometown. Ben Johnson, a redshirt freshman from Lexington Christian Academy is the second LCA grad to return to Rupp is as many games, joining North Florida's Carter Hendricksen. Johnson is averaging 8.0 PPG and is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. 
  • Johnson was Kentucky's "Mr. Basketball" in 2021. 
  • True freshman guard Peter Suder leads the Knights with 11 points-per-game. He also leads the team in steals with eight. 
  • Four players are averaging over 9 PPG.
  • ASUN Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Juston Betz leads the team in rebounding at 5.3 a game, as well as assists. It's his sixth season at Bellarmine. Betz is questionable to play against Kentucky after taking a knee to the labrum. He was one of three players who did not play against UCLA on Sunday. 

Tale of the Tape

Per UK Athletics: 

Screen Shot 2022-11-29 at 11.57.25 AM

Other Important Notes and Stats

  • Per KenPom, Bellarmine is averaging 102 points scored per 100 possessions. That mark is the 156th best in Division I. 
  • Points allowed is a different story. The Knights are allowing 108 points every 100 possessions, checking in at 306th in the nation. That stat feels inflated, however, as the competition has been steep, especially for a mid-major. 
  • Bellarmine is one of the slowest operating teams in DI. It averages 62.9 possessions a game, the 10th slowest tempo in the country.
  • Nine players on the roster have had a game in which it scored at least 15 points. There won't be any hero ball from Davenport's group. 
  • The Knights have become known for ball movement. UK head coach John Calipari joked on his call-in radio show that sometimes you wonder if they'll ever dribble. The stats may not back it up on paper, but watching BU play is different. UCLA head coach Mick Cronin said this about the Knights: 
  • -"If you respect the game, watching them [Bellarmine] play is refreshing, in my opinion. Preparing for it makes you a better team. You have to defend the whole clock, you have to have pressure on the ball, active hands, communication …"
  • For a more in-depth look, you can check out this well-made video by hoopvision68: 

Wildcats Today will have live coverage from Rupp Arena as Kentucky looks to continue its winning ways. Tip off between the Cats and Knights is set for 7 p.m. EST and will air on SEC Network +. 

Want the latest on national football and basketball recruiting, including Cats targets? Head over to SI All-American for the latest news, blogs, and updates about the nation's best prospects.

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