King comes close at No. 1 Bellarmine, 75-64

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - King College made a run, but was unable to get past No. 1 Bellarmine (Ky.) University Saturday on the road in a 75-64 decision.

Mark Dockery (Nickelsville, Va.) paced King, now at 6-8 on the season, with a game-best 20 points. The senior went 7-for-13 from the field and 5-for-10 behind the 3-point line.

Clarence Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) provided 17 points off the bench which outscored the entire Bellarmine bench by a point.

Freshman Michael Fortune (Beckley, W.Va.) dished out nine assists and totaled three points, all from the free throw line.

The Knights got a balanced attack with Justin Benedetti collecting 18 points to lead four Bellarmine double figure scorers.

After a tight opening 13 minutes, Bellarmine spurted to a 14-point lead thanks to hitting four of six three pointers over a five minute span.  A deep 3-pointer by Dockery as time expired in the opening half got the Tornado back to within 11 as the Knights went in to the locker room leading 45-32.

In the second period, King simply refused to go away.  After Bellarmine opened up a 16-point advantage with just over nine minutes remaining, King dug in their heels a made a comeback.  The Tornado whittled the Bellarmine lead down to just four as Dockery completed a rare 4-point play.

Bellarmine, however, maintained their composure as Braydon Hobbs calmly drained a 3-pointer late in the shot clock on the ensuing possession. Then, after King missed the front end of a one-and-one, Benedetti connected from beyond the arc to stake the Knights to a 10-point lead with 3:17 remaining. From that point, Bellarmine coasted in for the 11-point victory.

Coming into the contest Bellarmine was one of the nation's best shooting teams, but the Tornado managed to outshoot the Knights 51.1 percent to just 47.3 percent. The Tornado went 24-for-47 while Bellarmine was 26-for-55. Both teams made 10 free throws and Bellarmine had seven more 3-pointers, 13-6.

The rebounding advantage went to Bellarmine 29-27. King had two more steals, 9-7, but two more turnovers, 14-12.

For Bellarmine head coach Scott Davenport it was win No. 100 as the top ranked NCAA Division II team went to 8-0.

King returns to action on Jan. 2 at Nova Southeastern (Fla.) University.

Selected Information provided by Bellarmine Sports Information