The Bruins punch their ticket to the OVC Championship with a 60-50 win over EKU
For the third consecutive year, the men’s basketball team is playing in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Final after defeating Eastern Kentucky 60-50 on Friday night in Evansville, Indiana.
“It wasn’t pretty, we played very hard and I thought we were really really good for a lot of the game,” said coach Casey Alexander.
The Bruins have not won a conference tournament championship since 2015 and will play Murray State or Austin Peay on Saturday night.
Both the Bruins and the Colonels struggled to get shots to drop as both teams missed a combined 90 shots.
It was a relatively slow game for the first 25 minutes but Belmont never truly lost control of the game with the help from some three’s from Adam Kunkel, Nick Hopkins and Tate Pierson.
“Offensively I thought we were good in the first half and just couldn’t get one to drop,” said Alexander.
Kunkel helped keep the Bruins in the game with 10 points in the first half while Colonel Jomaru Brown had 9 points.
Both teams shot under 30 percent from the field in the first half and EKU only shot nine percent from behind the arc. Belmont led 31-20 going into halftime due to the help of EKU’s poor shots.
Belmont came out hotter in the second half but still struggled to really get away with the game. The Bruins eventually took a 14 point lead seven minutes into the half and EKU never truly threatened to take it.
Nick Muszynksi scored all of his 8 points in the second half which gave the Bruins some help in the paint. Muszyksini will be a key player in Saturday’s championship as he was injured in last year’s championship.
“I mean it’s big for us,” said Murphy. “Moose is a vocal point for our offense.”
Eastern Kentucky made a short run in the final minutes of the game, but was in too deep of a hole to get out of. With some help from Murphy, Kunkel and Muszynski, the Bruins won with ease. Kunkel finished the night with 15 points and Murphy ended with 10 points and eight rebounds.
“We are excited to be playing tomorrow,” said Alexander. “We know we’re going to be playing a really good team, it’s going to be a great environment. It’s one of those things, it’s why we signed up to do it, for games like tomorrow.”
Photos by Bronte Lebo.