The men’s basketball team earned their fifth straight Ohio Valley Conference win with a 74-51 victory over Tennessee State at the Curb Event Center on Thursday night.
Sophomore Nick Muszinski finished with 21 points in total and 12 in the second half to put his team on top. It was the first of many routine 20 point games from Muszynski that Belmont fans have witnessed in a long time, but coach Casey Alexander isn’t worried about his ability to perform down the stretch.
“It’s not just about setting him up in the post,” said Alexander. “It’s about him delivering and accepting the leadership role he has for this team.”
The Bruins came into the first half with a slow start going 0-3 and allowing a turnover that gave the Tigers the first three of the game.
A steal and pass by senior Michael Benkert gave sophomore Grayson Murphy the chance for a quick two that put their first points on the board.
The Bruins continued to extend their momentum, going on a 6-0 run with a deep jumper by Benkert and a contested bucket and free throw by Muszynski that put the Bruins up 6-3.
The Tigers picked up some momentum of their own going on a 18-10 run that put them up 21-16 at the midpoint of the half. However, a 5 point run concluded with a three from sophomore Adam Kunkel quickly brought the game to a 21 all tie silencing the visiting Tiger crowd.
The remainder of the first half concludes with the majority of the effort put defensively by both teams. Each were able to keep the other from performing offensively, until the Bruins picked up the pace with a much needed run.
The Bruins were able to create space and obtain a lead of 34-26 after a 7-0 run in the final two minutes of the half.
The Bruins finished the half going two of their last ten but shooting 42 percent overall. To conclude the half, the leading scorers were found in Kunkel and Muszynski who both had nine.
The Bruins came out hot in the second half going on an extensive run early that brings the Tiger deficit to 12.
Shortly after, both teams went on a three minute scoring drought until Murphy hit a three giving him 10 points on the night so far. It was quickly answered with a three by the Tigers, but the Bruins kept an extensive lead of 51-39.
The Bruins finished with a strong 12-2 run to finish the second half with a 74-51 victory.
Next, the Bruins will finish their four-game home stand taking on Jacksonville State this Saturday at 5 p.m..
Article by Julieann Challacombe. Photos by Bronte Lebo.