In only its second year in Division I, Bellarmine captured the ASUN men’s basketball championship—and then dominated the national conversation when NCAA rules prevented the Knights from playing in the NCAA Tournament.
“If we could go back and re-live Tuesday night, we'd do it a million times. That was one of the best nights of our lives." -- CJ Fleming, a graduate student in his fifth year on the team
Scarlet-clad fans stormed the court at Freedom Hall following Bellarmine’s 77-72 victory over the Jacksonville Dolphins on March 8. The win also meant that the Knights had their first-ever 20-win season at Division I (20-13).
Ordinarily, the ASUN Conference champion would get an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. But Bellarmine is in the second of a four-year transitional period from DII that prohibited the Knights from going to the “Big Dance.”
The unusual situation generated 3.7 billion media impressions over seven days and coverage in national outlets including ESPN, The New York Times, CBS Sports, Yahoo, MSN, The Associated Press and USA Today.
At an on-campus celebration in Centro’s atrium, Coach Scott Davenport pointed out it had been exactly 1,001 days before in the very same space that Bellarmine announced it was going Division I. He thanked the crowd for their support and spoke about
the character of his team.
“It was an incredibly emotional locker room” after the championship game, he said, “and not one player said, 'Look what I did.' What we can all learn from them is to celebrate each other."
Relive the excitement of the ASUN Championship game in this photo gallery.