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Men's Basketball Dominates on Senior Day

Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

Going into Sunday’s game against the University of Evansville, Belmont men’s basketball had two goals: honor seniors Keishawn Davidson and Jayce Willingham and secure momentum before the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.  

The Bruins had secured either the four or five seed, waiting to see how the University of Northern Iowa performed against Southern Illinois University.  

Since the Bruins and the Panthers split the regular-season series, the tiebreaker would rely on the NET rankings to see which team earned the Friday bye. 

And even with the 83-66 win over the Purple Aces, the Bruins were unable to jump the Panthers in the rankings, finishing the No. 5 seed and having to play on Thursday

“I knew when Northern Iowa won at SIU and played well, that it probably wasn’t happening,” head coach Casey Alexander said. “Our best chance was for UNI to be involved in a slugfest and for us to play great. Neither one of those things happened.’’ 

The Bruins started off slowly, finding themselves in a slugfest with the Aces. 

At one point, the Aces even had the lead, leaving the Curb Event Center stunned. 

But the Bruins soon began to pull away, leaving the Aces in the dust. 

Halfway through the second half, the Bruins’ lead ballooned to 53-30. 

The Aces could never keep the score close as the Bruins continued to make 3-pointers, going 11-27 from beyond the arc. 

Sophomore guard Ja’Kobi Gillespie led the Bruins with 18 points while sophomore forward Cade Tyson and Davidson both had 17 points. 

Lastly, a bright spot for the Bruins was freshman big Brigham Rogers, who scored a career-high 13 points and secured five rebounds. 

With the win, the Bruins have won seven of eight heading into Thursday’s matchup against Valparaiso University. 

The Bruins swept the Beacons in the regular season. 

If they can beat the Beacons, Belmont will play Northern Iowa on Friday. 

After that, the Bruins will have to see how the rest of the field plays out.  

In a tournament like Arch Madness, anything can happen. 

“Nobody’s going to luck their way through it,” Alexander said. “I don’t think we have to have a magical performance or set the world on fire. It’s usually a good team that gets in a good groove that wins these kinds of tournaments.’’ 


This article was written by Ty Wellemeyer

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