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Men’s basketball ends season in first round

Posted on 03.27.2013

The University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team ended its season on March 16, losing 67-61 to the Bellarmine University Knights in the first round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament, 67-61. It was the third time this season that the teams had met and, like the previous games this season, was a highly contested game between two familiar teams.

After the loss, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Gouard said that like the loss to Drury University in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament, the key factor in the Greyhounds’ loss was getting off to a slow start, coming back, but not having the legs to finish in the end.

“I’m proud of my guys for the way they fought tonight. They never gave up, and they never do. But tonight we fell short, and it’s very disappointing, because I think we should be playing tomorrow night [in the second round],” Gouard said. “But you have to give Bellarmine a lot of credit. They’ve been here before; they never panicked down the stretch tonight and made some really good plays down the stretch to win the ball game.”

During the game, the Greyhounds statistically did better than the Knights in some categories but not in others. The Greyhounds shot 41.7 percent from the field, including 37.5 percent from outside the arch, and shot 75 percent from the free throw line. The Knights, however, shot 84 percent from the free throw line, forced 16 turnovers, and scored 13 points off those turnovers, which helped them claim the victory.

Headed into the matchup, Bellarmine Head Men’s Basketball Coach Scott Davenport said he was happy with his team’s preparation and knew how much of a challenge the Greyhounds were as a familiar conference opponent in the GLVC.

“They are a very difficult, athletic team to play against,” Davenport said. “Obviously, we know how good they are. We played them twice. We scouted the game live against Drury last week in the quarterfinals of the GLVC Tournament.  We have unbelievable respect for their basketball team.”

Three players finished in double figures for the Greyhounds, including sophomore guard/forward Brennan McElroy, who had 12 points; junior guard Reece Cheatham, who had 11, and senior forward James Hollowell, who led by finishing with a career-high 26 points in his final collegiate game. Hollowell attributed his success on the court to his teammates and their ability to get the ball where he needed it.

In the first half of the game, after UIndy jumped out to a 6-2 lead with a 3-pointer by Cheatham, the Knights took control of the game. For about the next 10 minutes of the half, Bellarmine went on a 21-0 scoring run that put them up 23-6, with 7:26 remaining. Throughout the remainder of the half, UIndy found the basket again and cut the lead to nine points on a couple of occasions but never came any closer before the end of the first half.

When the teams returned for the second half, Bellarmine picked up right where it left off and held a double-digit point lead until the 7:52 mark. The Greyhounds, however, refused to give in, and at the 5:13 mark began a 7-0 scoring run that brought the deficit within three points. A few moments later, the Greyhounds still trailed by three, but tied the ball game up, 57-57, with a 3-pointer by Hollowell at the 2:38 mark. The Knights did not panic, however, and responded with a 7-0 scoring run from the free throw line to regain a comfortable lead, 64-57, with 23 seconds remaining.

UIndy could not catch the Knights in the following seconds and was just able to cut the lead to five points on a couple of occasions before the final buzzer sounded.

The Greyhounds ended their 2012-2013 season with a 20-9 record, 11-7 in the GLVC, and a third-straight trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament. Hollowell will be the only senior the Greyhounds lose this season, and the team will return with four of its starters for next year. Gouard said that he looks forward to preparing for next season and improving together as a team.

“We have a lot of work to do for next year,” Gouard said. “I really look forward to this group of guys we have coming back next year without one senior. And we’re going to do some things different in the offseason and next year, in preparation for a better season.”


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