The Belmont men’s basketball team concluded their two-game homestand with a 89-69 win against the University of Tennessee at Martin Skyhawks Saturday night.
The Bruins showcased their characteristic versatility when 12 of the 14 men on their roster contributed to their final tally of points of the night. Four of the 12 put up double figures in the win.
Off the bench, freshman JaCobi Wood matched his career high of 21 points, going 6-9 from the field. Junior Nick Muszynski helped with 11 points going 4-6.
Sophomore EJ Bellinger and freshman Evan Brauns both performed excellently, putting up a career high of 10 points. Bellinger had a perfect game going 4-4, while Brauns was nearly there, going 5-6.
The Bruins struggled to find composure on both ends of the floor as the half began, giving up offensive rebounds to the Skyhawks while struggling offensively themselves. Muszynki finally put up the first two for Belmont after a quick feed from Murphy to the inside.
Murphy continued to use his stealth eye once again to feed Smith on the outside, allowing him to put up a three and Belmont to take their first lead of the game at 5-4.
The game continued to remain within one possession. Each team’s basket was answered by the other, in a fast-paced and entertaining effort from both teams.
That was until the Bruins decided to take charge, going on a 7-0 run to put them up by five 22-17. The Skyhawks quickly responded, making it a one possession game once again – 25-24.
Belmont responded by improving their next run to 9-0, completely losing UT Martin in the process and extending their lead to 34-27 with just over two minutes to go.
The Bruins ended the half putting up five of their last seven shots. Their numbers totaled 46 percent from the field and 35 percent from three, with the score being 38-34 heading into the locker room.
Muszynski and Sheppard both ended the half leading the Bruins with seven points. Murphy once again managed the floor, helping the Bruins out with six rebounds and assists.
The Skyhawks came back to the court ready to battle, as they quickly went on a scoring run to take the lead, 42-41. Murphy quickly decided he had enough, putting up a sequence of baskets and steals — and giving the Bruins the lead once again.
In another series of impressive plays, the Bruins went on an 11-0 run as a collective that consisted of steals, threes and clutch-and-1 baskets, extending their lead to 63-49 in less than 90 seconds.
The crowd and bench alike lit up at the Bruins run, making it surprisingly electric inside the Curb Event Center considering its small number of occupants.
The atmosphere didn’t settle, as the Bruins kept up their relentless efforts, extending their run to 21-2. Their latest run was fueled by EJ Bellinger, after he put up 10 points in just six minutes.
The Bruins kept control of the game, forcing the Skyhawks into a series of droughts while they racked up more points, ultimately winning by 20 and extending their record to 12-1.
As a team, the Bruins shot 52.6 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from behind the arc.
Next, the Bruins hit the road on a two-game road tour against Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State respectively. Belmont first plays Tech on Jan. 14, and tip off is slated for 8 p.m.
This article written by Julieann Challacombe.