In front of a rowdy Curb Event Center crowd of nearly 3,500, the Belmont Bruins defeated the ETSU Buccaneers 80-58 Saturday night for its eighth straight victory.
Junior Ian Clark led the Bruins in scoring with 18 points. Four other Bruins also scored in double figures, including Blake Jenkins, who recorded his career first double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
While the team’s eight-game winning streak is good, head coach Rick Byrd said, he is still looking ahead to the remaining three games one at a time.
“You just go one at a time. Eight in a row is good, 10 in row would have been better… But nobody in the country is going to be disappointed with eight wins in a row,” Byrd said.
In the opening minutes of the first half, the Bruins jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead. While the Bucs tied the game three separate times, Belmont went on 12-0 run and and eventually took a 37-21 lead into halftime. Belmont would maintain a double-digit lead for the reminder of the game.
The Bruins made half of their shots in the first half, including four first-half threes from senior Drew Hanlen.
“When you face the zone, you are going to have to make three-point shots,” Byrd said. “If Drew hadn’t shot it like he did in the first half, Ian in the second half, and Kerron making both of his, it would have been a different story.”
In the second half, the Buccaneers kept trying to cut into the Bruins’ lead with buckets from Brown. They could only get within 17 points of the lead throughout the half.
Junior guard Sheldon Cooley led the Bucs in scoring with 13 points. Isiah Brown also scored in double digits with 12 points.
Belmont will have its home finale and senior night Monday night against USC Upstate before finishing the regular season on the road in Georgia against Kennesaw State and Mercer.