LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – CJ Fleming scored a career-high 27, Dylan Penn added 22 and Division I newcomer Bellarmine beat Jacksonville 77-72 in Tuesday’s Atlantic Sun Conference tournament, awarding automatic entry. NCAA tournament for regular season champion Jacksonville State.
The Knights, in the second of their 4-year transition to the D-1, became heroes in Jacksonville, Alabama. The top-seeded JSU lost at home 54-51 to the Dolphins on Saturday, but since Bellarmine failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, the Gamecocks will be dancing.
– JSU Men’s Basketball (@JSUGamecocksMBB) March 9, 2022
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Bellarmine, a recent Division II powerhouse and 2011 champion, beat Liberty, another ASUN champion, 53-50 on the road on Saturday. Jacksonville, who joined ASUN in 1998, is looking for his first league championship and the NCAA’s first stop in 36 years.
Bellarmine (20-13) made 11 of 12 free throws in the final two minutes with Fleming perfecting on eight, to keep Jacksonville out, having taken five of eight goals, two of which were three.
Jordan Davis scored 22 points for the Dolphins (21-10), losing their only regular-season game by 76-73 in stoppage time in the same building, and Osayi Osifo and Tyreese Davis each had 11 point.
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Penn, Juston Betz and Curt Hopf hit three pointers in a row to give Bellarmine a 9-4 lead and Sam Devault scored another three in a row as the Knights started to red-hot. Penn’s defeat midway through the first half made it 28-10 with the Knights leading 10 of 14, seven of the baskets behind the arc.
Jacksonville fought back to get 36-26 at half-time, despite going 0-10 from a 3-point range compared to Bellarmine’s 9 of 16.
The Dolphins hit six 3s in the second half and fired 50% but couldn’t get closer than six seconds.
The Knights completed 50% of the overall shot and 12 of 25 from 3-point range and 15 of 17 from the foul line.
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https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/03/10/jacksonville-state-ncaa-tournament-bid-bellarmine-wins-atlantic-sun-conference-tournament/ Bellarmine Wins Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, NCAA Tournament Tender for Jacksonville State – CBS Pittsburgh