December 4, 2012

Men's Basketball Defeats Lipscomb

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Behind tough, united defense and unselfish play, Belmont University men's basketball defeated Lipscomb, 100-66, Tuesday night.

In Belmont's first Division I home game of the season - the Bruins hosted Maryville (Mo.) Nov. 13 - the Bruins looked to back up their season opening 89-60 victory over the Bisons at Allen Arena.

But early on, it was Lipscomb finding an offensive rhythm.

A layin from Deonte Alexander gave Lipscomb an 18-10 lead less than seven minutes in. Then moments later, senior point guard Kerron Johnson (Huntsville, Ala.) would pick up his second personal foul and be forced to the sidelines.

But after some early missed opportunities at clean looks in the paint and behind the arc, Belmont started to assume control.

A three-pointer from senior Ian Clark capped a 12-0 Bruin run to give the hosts a 29-22 lead with 7:28 left in the half.

The Bruins also got nice bench contributions from senior Adam Barnes (Clarksville, Tenn.) and sophomore Reece Chamberlain (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) to sustain positive momentum.

With Lipscomb rotating between man-to-man and zone defenses, Belmont remained patient, largely turning to Clark for offensive output.

Belmont closed the half in strong fashion, making four three-pointers in the final 3:05 of the half - one from Chamberlain, two from senior Trevor Noack (Keller, Texas) and a fifth from Clark - to take a 45-35 lead at halftime.

Belmont shot 43 percent (15-for-35) from the field in the opening 20 minutes - including 10-for-23 from three-point distance. Lipscomb did manage the game well, committing just four first half turnovers.

Clark led the way with 17 first half points.

One free throw from Stephen Hurt got Lipscomb within 45-38 early in the second half as Belmont went scoreless the first two and a half minutes out of the locker room.

But the Bruins simply turned to Clark, who buried consecutive deep three-pointers over the Bisons' zone to increase the lead back to 13.

Lipscomb rode the play of Khion Sankey and Malcolm Smith to hang around, closing within 57-48 with 13:50 left before the Bruins broke free.

Active defense and a flurry of transition baskets - including a coast-to-coast slam from junior Blake Jenkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) - capped a huge 25-6 surge midway through the second half that made the score 82-54 with 8:35 remaining.

Bruin reserves got ample playing time down the stretch, with two free throws from sophomore Spencer Turner (Bloomington, Ind.) sending Belmont over the century mark.

All told, Belmont shot 48 percent (30-for-62) - including 15-for-35 from three-point distance. The Bruins forced 12 second half turnovers and outrebounded the Bisons, 49-35.

Clark led three Bruins in double figures with a season-high 30 points. Johnson added 17 points, while Chamberlain had a career-high 11 points.

Junior J.J. Mann (Smyrna, Ga.) had a season-high nine rebounds, and Jenkins added four blocked shots.

All 13 Bruins scored.

Khion Sankey led Lipscomb (3-4) with 15 points.

Belmont (6-2) is off for semester exams, but returns to action Thursday, Dec. 13 vs. Middle Tennessee State. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CT from the Curb Event Center.

The game will be broadcast live on Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS), ESPN3, and the Bruin Sports Network, with Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram on the call.

NOTE: The Bruins reached the century mark for the 12th time in the NCAA Division I era, the first since last February at Stetson, and first at home since Jan. 23, 2010 vs. ETSU ... Clark scored 30 points for the first time since he scored 31 twice as a freshman ... A replay of the broadcast is available on the archive section of ESPN3.