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Men’s basketball handles Samford in holiday hoops 

Keishawn Davidson rises for a reverse layup. The senior point guard scored 14 points on 6-6 FGs in Belmont's 79-56 win. Landen Secrest/Belmont Vision

Belmont men’s basketball welcomed Samford University to the Curb Event Center for some holiday hoops action on Wednesday night.

In their final game before Christmas, the Bruins pranced to a 79-56 victory behind another impressive performance from senior point guard Keishawn Davidson.

After scoring 23 points and leading the Bruins to an 83-79 overtime victory against the University of Chattanooga on Sunday, Davidson continued his hot streak.

“He followed up a good game down there with his best game today,” head coach Casey Alexander said of the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week.

“He’s not a flashy guy, but he’s got so many different ways that he can impact the game on the offensive end, and that’s what we need him to do,” Alexander said.

Davidson shot a perfect 5-5 from the field and dished out five assists while running the show for Belmont in the first half.

Freshman forward Cade Tyson and senior guard Ben Sheppard each contributed six points in the first 20 minutes of action.

On the defensive side, freshman Ja’Kobi Gillespie came off the bench energized and picked up four steals to pair with five points.

Bubba Parham attempted to keep the Bulldogs in the game with eight early points, but Belmont continued to bolster its margin.

The Bruins entered the locker room with a 38-26 lead without much to discuss besides shooting an inefficient 22.2% from three.

That percentage quickly changed for Belmont in the second half.

“We felt like we got good looks in the first half,” Alexander said. “At the half, we talked about it, and just wanted keep getting good looks, this team, over time, is going to shoot a really high percentage.”

The Bruins first six made field goals all came from behind the arc after Alexander’s conversation with the team.

Cade Tyson celebrates a made three-pointer from the bench. Landen Secrest/Belmont Vision.

Five players contributed to 61.5% shooting mark from three which quickly helped increase Belmont’s lead.

Davidson scored his only points of the second half with nearly 11 minutes to go, but the Bruins were already up by 19 points.

Junior Even Brauns headlined down the stretch, energizing fans inside Curb with three highlight reel dunks.

Tyson added eight points in the latter half, as he and Davidson were tied for the scoring lead, each with 14 total points.

For Samford, Parham and Jaron Rillie each scored 15 points.

The Bulldogs shot 36.7% from the field on a night where offensive was hard to come by at times.

Defensively, Belmont was better than they have been in a while, Alexander said.

Now riding a two-game winning streak headed into the holidays, Alexander is satisfied with his team’s effort.

“What I’m most pleased with that we had to fight like crazy to get a win on Sunday against a really good team on the road, then we came back today and played a more complete game,” Alexander said.

With the win, Belmont improves to 8-5 overall. The Bruins will now begin their first of 18 consecutive conferences games against Bradley University on Dec. 28. This article was written by Landen Secrest

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