If there was any question over whether Belmont would be ready to play the day after a last minute loss to Tennessee, sophomore guard Ian Clark and junior forward Brandon Baker answered it early.
The Bruins jumped out to an early 9-0 lead over Arkansas State behind two threes by Baker and another by Clark.
They never looked back, winning 93-60 in the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Thompson-Boiling Arena.
Belmont dominated the first half in pretty much every phase of the game, making nine three-pointers and forcing 10 turnovers. They shot 50 percent from three-point range and 53 percent from the floor.
Clark scored 18 points—all in the first half. Junior center Mick Hedgepeth contributed 14 points and six rebounds.
The large lead gave the Bruins a chance to test some young players.
Redshirt freshmen Adam Barnes and Blake Jenkins provided a spark off the bench with four points and eight points, respectively. Jenkins’ father, Fred Jenkins, played for the University of Tennessee and is still eighth on their all-time career assists list.
Belmont will return to action on Monday and Tuesday, but their destination is unknown. The Bruins are guaranteed two more games as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off. They will likely end up playing at Missouri State, George Washington, or Wake Forest on Monday.