Belmont’s men’s basketball team traveled down the boulevard Tuesday night to face in-town rival Lipscomb University for the second time this season.
The last game versus the Bisons proved to be a fantastic matchup between the two teams when Belmont recovered from an 18-point deficit to defeat the Bisons with a buzzer-beater layup. This finish made Tuesday’s game a must-see.
Casey Alexander’s Lipscomb team started off strong once again by earning a 10-point lead by halftime, with their largest lead of the night coming halfway through the first half at 13 points.
Led by center Rob Marberry, the Bisons showed a more poised and aggressive offensive attack to give them the lead, but the night was beginning to look eerily similar to the matchup between these teams on Nov. 29.
When the second half rolled around, both teams held steady, but it was the Bruins who put the pedal to the metal and kicked it into high gear.
Belmont forward Amanze Egekeze led the charge for Belmont on both offense and defense for the Bruins. With 15 points and 12 rebounds, Egekeze helped the Bruins eliminate the 10-point deficit and gave the Bruins the push they needed to take the lead.
However, any lead obtained by the Bruins was not safe against the physical Lipscomb offense. The lead changed 12 times throughout the game, and it was Belmont’s Evan Bradds and Lipscomb’s Egekeze who had to use their size to make the final push to win the game.
With two minutes left in regulation, a jumper by Bradds with an assist from Egekeze tied the game up at 59. With just under a minute left, it was Bradds who hit the shot the Bruins needed to tie the game up yet a second time.
Within the final minute, the Bruins took another two-point lead and made a great defensive stop inside the final 30 seconds of regulation to get the ball back.
However, a sloppy pass by Belmont allowed Lipscomb’s Cam Miller to make a stealthy steal and gave the Bruins a quick heart attack. A lousy foul toward the end seemed like it would end up making the difference, but Garrison Matthews of Lipscomb could only hit one of two from the charity stripe and sent the game into overtime tied at 65 — the first time these two teams have gone to overtime since 2008.
When overtime hit, it was Belmont guard Taylor Barnette who stepped up for the Bruins to give them the competitive edge after three teammates, including Bradds, fouled out for the night.
Barnette hit four 3-pointers during the night, and three of them came in overtime. The most important of these came right before to the buzzer. With the Bruins down by one and the ball in hand, the Bruins only had one last chance to take the lead.
Barnette, wide open from beyond the arch, was able to drain the 3-pointer and give the Bruins a two-point lead with only four seconds to go. This was the difference maker for the Bruins, and the game ended with a 78-76 victory.
The Bruins’ next game will be Dec. 14 against in-state opponent Middle Tennessee State at the Curb Event Center. Tipoff is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m.
This article was written by Cooper Smith. Photos by Cooper Smith and Grace Senkowsky.