Rising Past the Phoenix

Rising Past the Phoenix

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Amanze Egekeze, Dylan Windler and Mack Mercer combined to score 60 points as Belmont University men's basketball defeated Green Bay, 86-75, Saturday afternoon.

After early scores from Mercer and Egekeze gave the Bruins a 6-1 lead, Belmont struggled to find a rhythm.

A driving layin from senior Austin Luke (Rowlett, Texas) pushed Belmont to an 18-17 edge, however the visiting Phoenix would go on a 14-5 run.

A Luke bounce feed to Egekeze for a slam and a 3-pointer from freshman Nick Hopkins (Fayetteville, Tenn.) provided sparks, but behind the play of Khalil Small, Green Bay led 42-35 at halftime.

It was a strange and uncharacteristic first half for the Bruins; missing 14 3-pointers, five free throws, and committing eight turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.

Mercer led Belmont with 11 first half points.

A 3-pointer from Windler opened things up for Belmont in the second half, and confident, determined basketball followed.

Five interior points from Egekeze highlighted a 14-3 Bruin run to open the second half and gave Belmont a 49-45 lead with 16:22 left.

From there, the teams exchanged a flurry of five 3-pointers in a 102 second span, as heroics from Windler were answered in kind.

After junior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.) tied the score at 59 midway through the second half, Luke delivered a timely steal and coast-to-coast conventional 3-point play to push the Bruins ahead by three.

Sophomore Seth Adelsperger (Peru, Ind.) would sandwich a layin around two more McClain 3-pointers to increase the Belmont lead to eight, 74-66, with 4:55 left.

But just as Belmont was stringing together defensive stops and scores, consecutive 3-pointers from Kameron Hankerson and TJ Parham got Green Bay within 76-74 with 3:01 to go.

From there, the Bruins held the Phoenix without a field goal, closing the game on a 10-1 run.

Egekeze answered with a straight-on 3-pointer, then after a string of empty possessions, Windler buried a deep wing 3-pointer with 46 seconds remaining to push Belmont to an 82-75 lead.

All told, Belmont shot 49 percent (29-for-59) from the field - including 60 percent in the second half.

The Bruins limited Green Bay to 39 percent shooting after halftime.

Egekeze led four Bruins in double figures with 21 points and eight rebounds. Windler posted his seventh double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Mercer had a season-high 19 points, while McClain added 11, all in the second half.

Hankerson and Kevin Jesperson led Green Bay (2-4) with 16 points each.

Belmont (5-4) returns to game action Monday, Dec. 4 at Lipscomb. Tip-off is set for 7:15 p.m. CT (following the Belmont-Lipscomb women's basketball game at 5 p.m.). The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. The live play-by-play of Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network. In-game updates will be available via Twitter @BelmontMBB.

NOTES: 

  • Belmont moves to 2-0 against Green Bay all-time
  • Amanze Egekeze registered his ninth double-digit scoring performance of the season (21 points), the only Bruin to tally double figures in every game this season. Egekeze has scored in double figures in 11 straight games
  • Mack Mercer scored a season-high with 19 points  - one short of his career high
  • Dylan Windler hit a career-high six 3-point field goals
  • Belmont has won 94 of its last 101 home games, dating back to 2010
  • Luke had 10 assists, one off his season-high (11 at Middle Tennessee)
  • Belmont outscored Green Bay, 32-24, in the paint, and 25-20, off the bench
  • Adelsperger had a season-high five rebounds