A battle of Bruins and Bears ended with a 89-67 Belmont blowout Thursday night at the Curb Event Center.
The Bruins (5-1, 1-0) kept the Mercer Bears (3-5, 0-1) in check for the entire game, never letting the Bears take a lead. The team got their first conference win with solid defense and a strong tempo, said coach Rick Byrd.
“I think we’re disrupting people defensively,” Byrd said. “We’re playing hard. We’re not always playing sound and we’re not nearly playing perfect, but we’re playing hard.”
This style of play was a major help to the Bruins during the game. The team scored 26 points off 18 Mercer turnovers.
Balance and consistency also benefitted the Bruins. Eight of the 11 Bruins who played scored at least eight points by the end of the night, and the team was also 17-of-20 at the free throw line.
The two teams kept it close for most of the first half until a 17-8 Belmont run gave the Bruins a 44-30 lead at the half. The run was led by sophomore guard Ian Clark, who scored eight of his 16 points during the run.
The Bruin dominance continued into the second half, when Belmont got in front quickly after a Mercer score with a Mick Hedgepeth basket and a Brandon Baker three-pointer.
Belmont continued their string of baskets until yjru were ahead by 20 points with more than eight minutes to go. They held on from there for a convincing win. Senior forward Mick Hedgepeth scored 13 points in the half .
Both teams were efficient with their shooting. Belmont shot 47 percent from the field while Mercer shot 51 percent.
Hedgepeth led the Bruins in scoring with 19 points, while Clark had 16 points. Jon House, Blake Jenkins, Kerron Johnson, and Scott Saunders all had 8 points each.
For Mercer, Brandon Moore had 22 points, Brian Mills had 14 points, and Jeff Smith had 11 points.