LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After returning to victory with an impressive 61-41 triumph over Florida Gulf Coast University on Saturday, the Bellarmine men’s basketball team embarks on a road trip to the two-game Asun Conference this week Tennessee with stops in Austin Peay on Thursday evening and Lipscomb on Saturday.
With his trip to Clarksville for Thursday’s game at 7:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. ET), Bellarmine will take on a newcomer at the conference while rekindling an old rivalry. Austin Peay, who were longtime members of the Ohio Valley Conference, competed regularly with Knights, meeting 17 times during the 1960s and ’70s. Their last meeting was in December 1974. Now, with Bellarmine’s promotion to Division I and APSU’s change of league affiliation, the two will begin a new rivalry.
Austin Peay (8-11, 2-4) is coached by Nate James, a former Duke Blue Devil and longtime assistant to Mike Krzyzewski. In fact, James was there for Bellarmine’s D1 debut when the Knights played Duke in their first-ever D1 game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 4, 2020.
Now in his sophomore year at APSU, James is getting the most production out of two players as a sophomore at Connecticut’s Putnam Science Academy. Sean Durugordon, a 6-5 redshirt sophomore, is driving the Governors offense at an average of 13.2 points per game while hauling in 6.2 rebounds per game. Elijah Hutchins-Everett, a 6-11 center sophomore, matches Durugordon’s rebound effort and adds 12.7 points per game.
On Saturday, the Knights stay in northern Tennessee to face the Lipscomb Bisons (11-8, 3-3 ASUN) at 4 p.m. (5 p.m. ET) in Nashville. Bellarmine and the Bisons have met five times in the D1 era with the Knights holding a 3-2 advantage, including both games played at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.
On Saturday, the Knights face an experienced side led by 6-7 forward Jacob Ognacevic, who is in his second year at Lipscomb after starting his career at Valparaiso. The athletic forward is amassing 15.9 points per game (4thth at ASUN) while hitting 3.8 rebounds per game.
In backcourt, third-year Will Pruitt is averaging 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, and Trae Benham is the leading lipscomb 3-point shooter with 38 points so far this season. Another veteran player for the Bisons is the 6-10, 275-pound Ahsan Asadullah, a three-time All-ASUN honoree. The big man has another strong season, leading the team in rebounds (6.6 rpg) and assists (3.4 apg) while adding 7.9 points per game.
Lipscomb has also had multiple transfers, with former Georgetown College Tigers and Kentucky native Derrin Boyd adding averaging 9.5 points and former Cincinnati Bearcat AJ McGinnis adding 6.4 points per game.
At Bellarmine (8-11, 3-3 ASUN), redshirt senior Garret Tipton continues to lead the Knights in the scoring column averaging 12.5 points per game. graduate student Juston Bez, meanwhile, remains the team leader in assists (3.5 apg) and rebounds (4.9 rpg). The 6-3 guard is coming off a big game against FGCU in which he flirted with a triple double, scored 11 points, had eight rebounds and had seven steals. The seven steals fell just one short of the program record and pushed Betz to 10thth on BU’s all-time steal list with 111 for his career.
Redshirt newbie ben johnson is averaging just under double digits at a 9.9 per game, and he’s the Bellarmine leader at 3-pointers with 36 points made. second grader Kurt Hopp is second on the team in triples and makes 30 while shooting better than 41 percent from beyond the arc. The 6-8 forward averages 8.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. student in the first year Peter Suedermeanwhile, contributes across the board, averaging 8.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
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