It wasn’t pretty, but Belmont held on with 6.1 seconds to win its second OVC game over the visiting Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 64-62.
Tech would steal the ball with 22.6 seconds remaining as Belmont only held a two point lead. After an unsuccessful shot and turnover, Belmont held sole possession with 6.1 seconds.
Reece Chamberlain turned the ball over back to TTU with his inbound pass.
The Curb Event Center breathed a collective sigh of relief after the Golden Eagles failed to make a shot as the clock dwindled down, giving Belmont the victory before leaving on a four-game conference road swing.
“I don’t think we were as patient as we were a couple of nights ago and Tennessee Tech did a good job defensively,” coach Rick Byrd said.
Belmont opened the game with several successful drives down the paint to jump to a 14-6 lead over TTU but finished shooting only 23.8 percent from the arc and 42 percent from field goal range.
“We’ve been talking about getting open, making more shots, and I think we kinda went away from that,” said senior guard JJ Mann.
Quick layups by Dennis Ogbe and Ty Allen cut the Bruins lead to four until Spencer Turner aced a three on the right side of the key with just under 12 minutes to go in the half.
Shirmane Thomas and Ogbe scored 7 unanswered points in the next five minutes to tie the game at 17.
Mann broke the Bruins’ offensive silence, sinking two free throws, giving way to a 23-19 lead by the last time out of the half.
Freshman Evan Bradds continued to prove his voracity in the paint, scoring four points in the final minutes of the half, allowing the Bruins to have a 29-23 lead.
“Evan, we have come to depend upon even though he’s a freshman. He’s done a lot of things for us, because he doesn’t play like a freshman,” Byrd said.
The Bruins opened the second half and seemed to break the offensive lull they had found themselves in the previous half thanks to Craig Bradshaw’s early fast break three and Bradds two.
But, Belmont found themselves in foul trouble deep into the half and with a marginal 59-57 lead near the four minute mark.
“We didn’t play well the last five minutes of the second half, but that wasn’t energy related, that was momentum related,” Byrd said.
Bradshaw carried the team as the clock wound to the 3:13 mark, sinking a three on the left side to give Belmont a six point advantage that held until the 55 second mark as TTU’s Javon McKay answered with his own three.
“It was a situation where we were finally running the offense we were supposed to be running, and he got that wide-open three because we did it,” Byrd said.
Bradshaw finished the night as Belmont’s leading scorer with 17 points. Mann finished with 14, while Bradds notched 10.