Belmont’s crosstown contests against Tennessee State University made for lopsided results in the Bruins’ favor.
The women jumped to an early advantage in the Gentry Center, breezing through the second half to win their game 85-46, while the men took advantage of turnovers to maintain their lead throughout the game, beating the Tigers 88-61.
Women’s team cruises to victory behind efficient shooting
Belmont shot a season-high 64.2% from the field Thursday, resulting in an incredible margin of victory for the Bruins.
Bruins fans knew early it was going to be a productive offensive game as their team quickly jumped out to a 10-point lead.
Once the dust settled in the first quarter, the Bruins led by 15 points, a hopeful sign of things to come.
The offensive showcase continued into the second quarter, headlined by four 3-pointers which added to Belmont’s still-growing lead.
Heading into the break, the Bruins were fully in control, ending the half 26 points up.
Tennessee State came back from the locker room looking like a completely different team on the court, initially trading buckets with Belmont.
But the Tigers’ energy didn’t last long and Belmont re-established its dominance in the latter half of the third quarter.
This momentum spilled into the fourth, and the team played most of the quarter in cruise control.
Late in action, sophomore Madison Bartley scored the last of her 19 total points, a basket that extended Belmont’s lead to 39 points — the max of the game.
On a night where offense was constantly clicking, the Bruins got key contributions from multiple players.
Senior Conley Chinn led the game in scoring with 20 points, Tuti Jones added 15 and Kilyn McGuff entered off the bench to total 10 points.
Sophomore Destinee Wells posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists.
Coming off a two-game win streak, the Bruins will play Ohio Valley Conference No. 1 Tennessee Tech University Saturday in Cookeville for a chance to reclaim the top conference spot.
Men’s team keeps the momentum going late into the evening
and the Tigers couldn’t keep up with the Bruins’ explosive play.
Graduate student Nick Muszynski stacked up 24 points and four assists while junior Ben Sheppard tallied 15 points of his own, along with seven rebounds and three massive dunks.
Graduate student Grayson Murphy added to the mix, recording six steals and six assists.
Shooting from distance, the Bruins commanded the game early with Muszynski, JaCobi Wood and graduate student Tate Pierson each bucking 3-point shots.
Pierson went back-to-back behind the arc to put the Bruins ahead 20-10 nearly eight minutes into the game.
After a layup from freshman Will Richard and a jumper from Muszynski, Belmont continued its 3-point trend as Wood and graduate student Luke Smith each downed their deep shots, increasing the Bruins lead to 30-14 midway through the first half.
Scoring then began to slow for both sides as Murphy, Smith, Richard and sophomore Evan Brauns each recorded impressive defensive turnovers.
With under three minutes remaining in the half, Sheppard recorded his second slam dunk of the game.
With a jumper from Smith and two free throws from Wood, the Bruins headed to the locker room at halftime with a comfortable 41-24 lead.
The Bruins found the Tigers creeping up on them midway in the second half, however, and Belmont was outscored 13-0 over a three-minute span, tightening the gap to 65-48 with just over nine minutes remaining.
Muszynski stepped up to end Belmont’s scoring drought with a layup as Wood followed with his third and final 3-pointer of the game.
Following a foul by TSU, Muszynski landed both his free throws, and after another 3-point-jumper from Smith, the game was back in the Bruins’ hands.
The remaining six minutes of the game were mostly Muszynski’s, with the senior scoring eight of Belmont’s final 13 points.
The Bruins have now won its eighth straight game against hometown rival TSU and lead the overall series 25-13.
Now standing on a four-game winning streak, the Belmont men also head to Cookeville on Saturday to compete against Tennessee Tech University.
PHOTO: No. 22 Tessa Miller and No. 11 Destinee Wells on the court at the Gentry Center, seconds before Wells drove straight to the basket. Belmont Vision / Gus Sneh
This article was written by Landen Secrest and A.J. Wuest.