The Belmont Bruins beat the Murray State Racers in dominating fashion 87-61 on Thursday to improve their perfect home record for the season.
The Bruins, 10-7 on the season, came into the game with a 6-0 record at home and improved it to 7-0 with the win over the Racers. Belmont shot 62 percent from the field while holding Murray State to just 30 percent shooting on the game.
Belmont head coach Cameron Newbauer felt the defensive effort of his team was a key factor in their offensive success.
“Our defense and rebounding springboards our offense because if we get those rebounds and stops, we can get our transition game going,” said Newbauer.
Belmont got off to a hot start, scoring the first 17 points of the game with shots from all over the court and a stifling presence on the defensive end.
The first quarter was dominated by the Bruins who held a 28-8 edge at the end of the first period. Freshman guard Darby Maggard and sophomore forward Kylee Smith both scored in double figures for the Bruins in the first quarter alone.
Murray State attempted to cut into the lead before halftime and got the deficit down to as much as 15 points, but Belmont scored the final eight points of the half and went into halftime with a commanding 53-30 lead.
The Bruins offense was helped by crisp passing as the team racked up 21 assists in the game and 15 in the first half.
“We shared the ball really well, had 15 assists in the first half,” said Newbauer. “Anytime we do that, we’re going to be in good shape.”
The Bruins outscored the Racers again in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 32 points heading into the final period.
The lead got as high as 38 points for the Bruins who closed out the game with a 26-point win.
A major focus for Belmont coming in was shutting down Murray State players Ke’Shunan James and LeAsia Wright who came in averaging 43 points per game combined.
“That was the biggest thing, trying to limit their two biggest scorers,” said Newbauer. “We did a good job at it. They came in averaging 43 per game and we held them to 20.”
Smith led all scorers with 23 points, 16 coming in the first half. Sophomore center Sally McCabe contributed 10 points and fell one rebound short of her third double-double of the season. Maggard finished with a career-high 17 points along with 6 assists on the day.
The Bruins next game will be against Austin Peay on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Curb Event Center.