Led by stellar performances by junior Kerron Johnson and sophomore Blake Jenkins, the Belmont Bruins defeated the North Florida Ospreys 83-69 at the Curb Event Center Monday night.
Johnson led the Bruins with 16 points, and Jenkins scored 15 points and made seven rebounds. This was Jenkins’ second consecutive game with 15 points or more for the Bruins, who scored a career-high 18 points Saturday night against Jacksonville.
“He’s started three games, and during that three-game stretch he may be our most valuable player,” said head coach Rick Byrd. “He has really given us offensive rebounding, a defensive stopper, and more offense than I think any of us except Blake would have thought.”
Mick Hedgepeth and Ian Clark also scored in double figures on the night.
In the opening minutes of the first half, the Bruins were able to jump up quickly to a 9-2 lead. Belmont continued to build a 19-6 lead, thanks to a layup and free throw by Johnson and a dunk by Jenkins.
With 10 minutes remaining in the half, North Florida cut Belmont’s lead down to seven points, but the Bruins outscored the Ospreys 23-12 for the reminder of the half.
In the first half, Belmont shot 47 percent from the field and generated 12 points off of 11 Ospreys turnovers. Overall, they scored 17 points off of 16 North Florida turnovers. North Florida tried to gain momentum early in the second half, and produced a 12-5 run to cut the Bruins’ lead to 11 points.
Belmont then answered with a 7-2 run of its own to extend its lead 65-49. North Florida was able to get within nine points of the lead three different times throughout the night, but the Bruins always pulled away.
The Bruins made 52 percent of their attempted shots on the night, and made eight of 19 three-pointers.
Junior guard Jerron Granberry led the Ospreys on the night with 12 points.
The Bruins will travel down Belmont Boulevard Friday night to face crosstown rival Lipscomb for their final in-conference matchup in the Atlantic Sun Conference.