Yes, Belmont men’s basketball had finally snapped its four-game losing streak with a win over UIC on Saturday.
But head coach Casey Alexander still needed to see more from his team on Wednesday against Indiana State University.
Even with the 78-72 loss, Alexander said his team accomplished that goal.
“I’m happy for our team that we played harder,” Alexander said. “We got the monkey off our back Saturday against UIC even though we didn’t play well. Today, we looked more like the team we want to be.”
With 13 minutes left in the first half, the Bruins jumped out to a 23-10 lead.
Against UIC on Sunday, the team had 22 points at the half.
Belmont turned its defense into offense with sophomore Malik Dia and senior Keishawn Davidson carrying the scoring load.
But with three minutes remaining in the half, there was a medical emergency in the stands, causing a delay.
Once play resumed, the Sycamores slowly cut into the Bruins’ lead, using their high-powered offense to create open shots.
At the end of the half, the score was 45-37 with Dia, Davidson and sophomore Cade Tyson scoring 32 of the Bruins’ 45 points.
In the second half, the Sycamores seemed to have the upper hand, closing the deficit to one by getting to the free throw line and knocking down 3-pointers.
With 14 minutes left, the Sycamores had their first lead since the score was 10-8.
But the Bruins refused to go away, always keeping the game close or taking the lead.
This trend continued for the rest of the game.
For every Indiana State basket, Belmont responded with one of its own.
But Belmont could never seem to pull away when needed.
With roughly three minutes remaining, a Sycamores layup gave them a 76-70 lead.
Then a scoring drought hit Belmont at the worst time as the Bruins were unable to find ways to put points up on the board.
The defense stayed strong, holding Indiana State scoreless for the final three minutes.
But it wasn’t enough as Belmont fell 78-72.
Dia, Tyson and Davidson finished with a combined 57 points.
Alexander said that nothing changed for Belmont with its game plan. The only thing that changed was the high-level scoring.
“I thought we had a lot of great looks in the second half,” Alexander said. “If we make them similar to what we did in the first half, we win the game.”
But Alexander also said that no one can discredit the effort of his team tonight against a team with a top-10 offense in the country.
“What they do best is score points at a high level. You just have to weather the storm,” Alexander said. “We did that. Their largest lead was five or six points. It’s not like we were ever out of the game. We just got stopped.”
The Bruins now turn their attention to Saturday when they face a Missouri State team on a three-game winning streak.
This article was written by Ty Wellemeyer