Updated: Nov 29, 2022
Capping off the month of November, Belmont men’s basketball picked up its fourth win of the season after edging Georgia State University on the road Sunday.
Graduate forward Drew Friberg had a career game, racking up 24 points and five rebounds as senior guard Ben Sheppard scored 15 points and added five assists.
After a nail-biting finish, Belmont won 68-66.
“It was definitely a hard-fought win. Coach told us at the beginning of the game to start on the defensive side and a few mistakes on that end, a few mistakes on offense but we kept it together and came out with the win,” Sheppard said.
Making his debut in a Bruin uniform, senior point guard Keishawn Davidson saw the floor for 23 minutes.
Davidson, who missed the first six games with a shoulder injury, came out and scored five points and grabbed three rebounds.
“It was really good to see him back out there. He made a few good plays for us and he’s just getting his legs back to game shape and we’re all excited for him,” Sheppard said.
Starting the game off strong, the Bruins jumped to a 6-0 lead after three-pointers from Sheppard and freshman forward Cade Tyson.
But the Panthers responded with a three from Georgia State’s Ja’Heim Hudson and after a pair of free throws from Jamaine Mann, Belmont’s lead was narrowed to one.
From there, Friberg got to work.
Downing his first of seven threes of the day, the former Princeton University Tiger led the Bruin charge.
“They were just putting me in spots where all I had to do was catch it and shoot it, so that’s the easy part,” Friberg said.
After a second three from Friberg in the first seven minutes of the game, the Bruins continued their trend of shooting from behind the arc with another from Tyson.
But junior forward Even Brauns ended Belmont’s three-point trend with a massive dunk at the 10-minute mark.
Davidson, however, picked up where Friberg and Tyson left off, downing Belmont’s sixth three of the game with just over eight minutes remaining in the half.
After another three from Friberg minutes later, Belmont led 23-20.
But the Panthers continued to push, and after jumpers from Dwon Odom and Hudson, Georgia State grabbed its first lead of the game, 27-26, with under four minutes remaining in the half.
Belmont, however, reclaimed the lead after a layup from senior forward Derek Sabin.
Gillespie, assisted by Sheppard, extended the lead, 31-27, with a jumper and free throw.
After a layup from Georgia State’s Mann with five seconds until half, Belmont led 31-29.
Starting off the second half for the Panthers, Odom tied the game with a jumper.
The score remained 31-all for a couple minutes until Brauns, assisted by Sheppard, downed a layup for the Bruins.
But the Panthers tied it again at 33 after a layup from Mann.
Not wasting any time, Brauns dunked the ball to give Belmont a 35-33 lead.
From there, Belmont maintained a lead over Georgia State for the remainder of the game.
But it didn’t come without a fight.
While the Panthers were mostly playing catch-up in the second half, they remained composed and didn’t allow the Bruins to run away with the game.
After a missed shot from Brauns with just under five minutes remaining, Odom made a layup to shorten Belmont’s lead to 60-59.
From there, Friberg connected with a three but after a foul on Brauns, Hudson made it a two-point game as he downed a pair of free throws.
With just over three minutes remaining, Friberg made his seventh and final three-pointer of the game to give Belmont a 66-61 lead.
Shortly after, Sheppard extended the lead, 68-61, with a dunk.
But the Panthers didn’t allow that to get them down.
With one minute left in the game, Georgia State’s Danny Stubbs downed a three to make the score 68-64.
After a foul on Davidson, Odom made it a two-point game with 52 seconds left.
The Panthers got possession but were unable to come away with points as Gillespie provided a key steal.
Overall, Belmont shot an efficient 47% from the field and a notable 52% from three.
After the narrow victory, the Bruins hold a 4-3 overall record and extended their win-streak to three.
Belmont will now return home for the first time since its season-opener as it takes on Missouri Valley Conference opponent Valparaiso University on Thursday night at the Curb Event Center. This article was written by A.J. Wuest