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Kobi's Cooking: Belmont Wins Third-Straight

Updated: Feb 15

Photo by Bree Fabbie

In the game against Southern Illinois University last month, Belmont sophomore guard Ja’Kobi Gillespie injured his hand, which would keep him out of action for about a month. 

But on Wednesday, his 26 points and stellar defense on Southern Illinois star Xavier Johnson helped propel the Bruins to an 82-68 win over the Salukis.  

“Offensively he had 26. But he also guarded Xavier Johnson the whole time,” head coach Casey Alexander said. “It's a heck of a game.” 

The first half featured back-and-forth action from both teams. 

The Bruins slowly began taking the lead only for the Salukis to cut into that lead. 

Despite Salukis center Scottie Ebube rattling with rim with some monster dunks, Belmont found ways to make sure it always stayed on top, whether it be from a crafty Gillespie layup or silky-smooth jumper from sophomore Cade Tyson. 

Going into the half, the Bruins led 37-31 following a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by senior guard Keishawn Davidson.  

Gillespie had 14 of his 26 points in the first half. 

The Bruins terrorized the Salukis in the second half as Tyson caught fire and Gillespie continued to be a menace on both sides of the ball.  

Surrounded by a supporting cast of Davidson and graduate forward Jayce Willingham, the Bruins’ lead became too much for the Salukis to overcome. 

Tyson finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds.  

Alexander said he was extremely proud of his team’s showing tonight. 

“I think we handled the game we needed to. We were really good for 40 minutes,” Alexander said. “We had mistakes, but I felt like we played at a pretty high level against a really good team.” 

With Arch Madness coming up soon, Alexander said the job isn’t done. 

But a three-game winning streak late into conference play might help ease some nerves. 

“I just want us to keep getting better,” Alexander said. “I’m a lot more excited about Arch Madness than I was a couple week ago.” 

Belmont has two upcoming road games, traveling to Chicago to take on UIC on Sunday before heading to Des Moines, Iowa, to play Drake, one of the best teams in the conference. 

Can the Bruins erase their past four-game losing streak in favor of a current five-game winning streak? 


This article was written by Ty Wellemeyer


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