Belmont Beats EKU 85-74

Reported by: Alex Risen
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Updated: 1/26/2013 11:53 pm

RICHMOND, Ky. – In a battle for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference East Division, the Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team fell to a hot-shooting Belmont University squad, 85-74, on Saturday at McBrayer Arena.

The Bruins (17-4, 8-0 OVC) shot 67 percent from the field and 73 percent from behind the three-point arc. 

After shooting 70 percent in the first half and making 7-of-10 to start the second half, Belmont had a 15-point lead, 59-44, with 13:37 left in the game.  The Bruins still led by 14 with less than 12 to go when the Colonels went on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit in half.  A three-pointer by Marcus Lewis made it a 65-58 with just over nine minutes left to play.

Belmont edged back in front by 12, 75-63, on a lay-up by J.J. Mann before EKU made another run.  The Colonels (16-5, 6-2 OVC) rolled off eight unanswered to close the gap to four.  Corey Walden scored the first seven on a three-pointer, two free throws and a massive dunk.  Mike DiNunno’s free throw made it 75-71 with 2:54 showing on the clock.

Kerron Johnson answered with a trey as the shot clock expired to put an end to the Eastern run and the Colonels’ comeback bid.

Belmont made 11-of-15 three-pointers.  Ian Clark went 3-for-3 from deep and scored 21 points.  Mann hit on 3-of-4 from behind the arc and finished with 18 points and six assists.  Johnson connected on both of his attempts from long range and contributed 16 points.

Walden finished with a game-best 24 points.  He went 6-for-10 from the field and 10-for-12 at the free throw line.  DiNunno added 15 points and Lewis finished with 11.

The Colonels shot 50 percent from the field and 52 percent (11-for-21) from three-point range.

After a three-pointer by Brandon Baker put the visitors in front 14-8, Eastern went on an 11-2 run.  DiNunno hit two three-pointers and Jeff Johnson had a trey during the spurt.  However, the Bruins had an answer.  Belmont scored 13 straight to turn a 19-16 deficit into a 29-19 lead.  Mann had two of his team’s three three-pointers during the run.

Belmont led by as many as 13 twice before taking an 11-point lead, 42-31, into the locker room at half time. 

The Bruins made 16-of-23 from the field (69.6 percent) in the opening half, including 7-of-8 from behind the arc.

The Colonels take to the road to face two West Division teams next week, beginning on Thursday at Tennessee-Martin.  Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

NOTES

Eastern Kentucky is ranked 18th in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25.  Belmont is ranked fifth.

In the first meeting between these two teams, Belmont out-rebounded EKU by 19.  On Saturday the Colonels held the advantage on the boards 23-19.

Belmont’s 67.4 percent shooting from the field and 73.3 percent shooting from three-point range are the highest by an Eastern Kentucky opponent this season.

Belmont now leads the all-time series 3-1.

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