Behind a collective team effort and five double digit scorers, the Belmont men’s basketball team defeated Austin Peay 93-68 in front of a homecoming crowd Saturday afternoon.
Senior JJ Mann led the team with 28 points while junior Reece Chamberlain notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists and three rebounds shy of a triple-double.
“JJ obviously had a good scoring night and Reece had a great game,” said Belmont coach Rick Byrd. “Reece had 10 assists without a turnover. That’s pretty unheard of.”
Belmont once again got off to a quick lead behind Mann and Bradshaw who scored the first 13 points of the contest in the opening five minutes including three baskets from behind the arc.
The Bruins pushed their lead 20-8 behind another three pointer from Mann and a pair of layups from Chamberlain and Blake Jenkins.
Austin Peay was able to cut the lead down to two with 6:44 to go in the first half behind a pair of free throws from Holton.
Minutes later, layups and subsequent free throws from both Chamberlain and Jenkins put Belmont back up by 10. The Bruins would go into halftime with a 53-44 lead.
After the Governors pulled within five in the opening minutes of the second half, the Bruins dominated inside by play from Mann and Evan Bradds.
“I thought Reece was dishing them out like crazy,” Mann said. “He was really hitting the floor well and in control of the game. He really was driving it well with good passes.”
Belmont would continue its ability to both score and defend the post for the remainder of the game and go onto win 93-68.
While Austin Peay shot 56 percent in the first, the Bruins held the Governors to just 30 percent from the field. Byrd said he thought the defensive effort was better in the second half for the Bruins.
“We battled them harder in the inside. They have two post players that are strong and it’s hard to guard those guys inside,” Byrd said. “I thought we were little more physical and battled better in the second half.”
Belmont returns to action on Thursday night when they host crosstown rival Tennessee State. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m on ESPNU.
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