The Bellarmine Knights have officially made the jump from DII to DI for the 2020-21 school year, but are already comfortable in their new digs in the Atlantic sun. Bellarmine won the A-Sun Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament last season but did not receive the automatic offer to the NCAA tournament because it was not eligible as a level transition program. Instead, the biggest game on Bellarmine’s calendar is against big brother Louisville. On Wednesday night, they surprised the mighty Cardinals in the first game of the Kenny Payne era.
Bellarmine beat Louisville, 67-66, for a big win for the program. The Knights led the game most of the time, but it was still played until the final seconds. After Louisville missed some chances late to open up the front, Knights point guard Juston Betz grabbed the rebound and decided to freeze the game in a totally unique but brilliant way. He threw the ball out of bounds at the other end of the court, ensuring that Louisville had to travel the entire court after an inbounds pass with less than a second remaining.
Watch the play here:
That’s a basketball kick, and it’s beautiful. I’m old enough to remember when Michael Ruffin tried something similar for the Washington Wizards in 2007, but the Raptors took the ball and hit the winner of the game. Ballarmine fared much better.
This could be a long year for Louisville. The Cards have already lost to D2 Lenoir-Rhyne in preseason, and being beaten by his little brother to start the year is a tough sight. As the great Mike Rutherford wrote in his recap in our Louisville Card Chronicle community:
Louisville fans have to hope that one day this will simply serve as a curious anecdote: did you know that the first game Kenny Payne coached was actually a home defeat to Bellarmine?
Payne may change the show eventually, but he’s already starting off the deep end. What a victory for Ballarmine.