Let me count the ways that attending a basketball game at Bellarmine is way more rewarding than watching the flailing Cardinals down at the Yum! Center.
* I pulled up on Norris Place and parked on the street, about a hundred yards from the gym, 30 minutes before tipoff. Free. I could have pulled into the lot and been closer. No one was standing outside hawking parking spaces for ten bucks.
* On the way in with Luke, my 13-year-old son, we got in a short line to buy our $10 tickets when a nice woman walked up, asked if we were buying tickets, and handed us two. The seats were on the second level, perfect.
* During warmups, Bellarmine’s team focused on passing drills.
* The PA announcer asked somebody to move a bus that was blocking traffic outside. A bus.
* The sound system is terrible. The scoreboard is good for one thing — the score of the game. You have to pay attention to the game to see who’s getting points.
* During introductions, players are announced — Name, Number, Hometown, Position. No light show, no theatrics. Some of the Knights did a silly little dance.
* The talent on the floor is Division 2 level. Lots of turnovers. Lots of defense. Easy shots are missed. The game is not as fast. There are few dribble drives. Players don’t force shots, but wait for openings. I don’t remember a dunk. There’s no taunting.
* Officials call walking. A lot. No one ever argues a call. Not even Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport, who is a folk hero in these parts.
* Like a high school gym, there’s a stage set up behind one goal, where the band plays and media types shoot video. During opponent free throws, a band member juggles things. It would seem to be very distracting. He’s a good juggler. Also plays clarinet.
* Announced attendance was 1,827, and there were few empty seats. The student section was loud. The rest of those in attendance seemed to be Bellarmine grads. All very polite. They don’t sell beer here, but the ice cream was great.
* Bellarmine, ranked #2 in the country, was clearly superior to the Lewis Flyers, winning by 28 to go 15-1 on the year. The Knights shoot the 3 very well. Winning is fun.
* Hall of Fame sportswriter Billy Reed was there, as a fan, with a seat in the next row. He loves the atmosphere here.
* We left before the game ended, but not to avoid traffic. There was none. Home in 10 minutes.