Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bellarmine University Wins Midwest Regional; Thelan Named Most Outstanding Player

(1) Bellarmine 81
(4) Indianapolis 72

Final from Louisville, Kentucky

NCAA DII Tournament - Midwest Regional Championship

Game recap by BU:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The chant from the Bellarmine University student section rose to a fevered pitch.

"Feed the beast. Feed the beast," the BU faithful bellowed.

When Jake Thelen, the object of their affection, raised his arm in gracious salute, the roar reached a deafening level. On this night, as the senior forward has all season, Thelen transformed into beast mode. And in this game, as they have all season, the Knights had an unwavering drive to succeed that would not be denied.

Bellarmine has punched its ticket to the Elite Eight in Evansville, Indiana, after the third-ranked Knights captured the Midwest Regional championship of the Division II NCAA Tournament on Tuesday with an 81-72 victory over No. 15 Indianapolis in front of a raucous fan base at Knights Hall.

"This is one of the best feelings I've ever had, this is one of the best days of my life," exclaimed Thelen, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. "This is something you dream about as a kid. It's unbelievable."

Believe it.

Bellarmine (30-3) earned its third Elite Eight appearance in the last five years by beating Indianapolis (25-6) for the third straight time. In doing so, the Knights gained a measure of revenge, as it was the Greyhounds who ended their season last year. In fact, BU turned the Midwest Regional into its own personal playground for payback, triggering the three-game title run with a blowout win over Drury, which had upset the Knights in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament finals.

"They gave absolutely every ounce of energy and passion they had," praised BU Coach Scott Davenport, who pumped his fist after cutting down the last strand of net amid the exuberant postgame celebration.

Bellarmine will meet No. 4 Minnesota State Morehead (35-3) on March 25 at the Ford Center.

Thelen collected Most Outstanding Player honors after piling up game highs of 24 points and 15 rebounds. Senior guard Chris Whitehead netted All-Tournament accolades and scored 19 points with six assists. Sophomore guard Rusty Troutman chipped in 10 points, five assists and five rebounds, junior forward George Suggs added nine points and five rebounds, and sophomore forward Josh Derksen contributed nine points.

Complete Recap

Updated NCAA DII Tournament Bracket (click to enlarge):

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