Captain Grayson Murphy propelled the Belmont men’s basketball team to a 73-58 win after a historic performance against the Morehead State Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
After putting up 13 points, 12 assista and 10 rebounds, Murphy became the first player in Belmont NCAA division one history to record a triple-double. The accolades don’t stop there, as Murphy became only the eleventh player this season to record a triple-double, and the fifteenth in Ohio Valley Conference history to do so.
Murphy was also backed by three fellow Bruins who put up double figure games, including JaCobi Wood. Off the bench, Wood put up a game high 19 points shooting 7-15 from the field and 3-4 from behind the arc.
Belmont’s collective performance snapped the Eagles’ win-streak that held the number four spot in the league at 12, while also extending theirs to remain second in the nation under the University of Gonzaga.
To open the half, the Eagles took the first possession, but the Bruins made it impossible to find an open shot. Tight defense awarded Belmont its first possession, where Muszynski took advantage of his dominance under the basket to put their first two on the board.
Belmont’s rendition of the twin towers, Muszynski and fellow junior Caleb Hollander, continued to stun the eagles with consecutive buckets in the paint that turned into an early 8-0 run.
The Eagles managed to snap the Bruins’ run, however, their newfound momentum didn’t go unanswered as Murphy added four straight to the board in a series of two layups and a steal taking a lead of 10 at 18-8.
Offensive struggle struck the Bruins as the Eagles turned their defense up a few notches, holding Belmont to only hit one of their next seven shots. Morehead State also managed to level up on the offensive end, going on a scoring run that shrunk their deficit to 25-24.
After spending a lot of time neck and neck with the eagles, the Bruins were able to separate themselves with a dire 16-3 run that put them up by 13 going into half time, 43-30.
Freshman JaCobi Wood led the team with 10 points off the bench going 4-7, including two clutch threes down the stretch. Close behind was Muzsynski who put up nine points and six rebounds, shooting 4-7 from the field.
Collectively, the Bruins shot 53 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the arc, hitting seven of their last eight shots to end the half.
Paired with wonderful play in the post, the Bruins showcased nearly impenetrable defense. Holding the eagles to just 30 points on the half as well as holding their players to single-digits.
To start the half, each team traded small runs that periodically added to the board. However, the Bruins quickly stopped any momentum the Eagles had created in its tracks and extended their lead to 55-41 by the midway point of the half.
As quickly as the Bruins extended their lead, they let it shrink, as the Eagles forced them to a drought full of turnovers and non sensual fouls. With both impact players Murphy and Muszynski in foul trouble, the Eagles took advantage of Belmont’s sensitive conditions closing their deficit to within10.
Without warning, the Bruins flipped a switch driving to the basket again and again to send themselves on an 8-0 run, giving them a sense of comfortability with a double figure lead at 65-49 with four minutes remaining in regulation.
With their reestablished confidence, the Bruins continued to finish on an upbeat note to win and set the Ohio Valley Conference record for most consecutive victories at home with 26.
Next, the Bruins hope to extend their win streak to 20 as they take on the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in the third game of their four game home stand. Tip off is slated for 7 p.m.
This article written by Julieann Challacombe. Photo by Isaac Wetzel.