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Right from the Start

Right from the Start

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Behind 28 points from junior Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.), Belmont University men's basketball defeated Eastern Illinois, 81-59, Thursday night.

Windler, named Player of the Week Sunday, continued his All-America level play, going 10-for-18 from the field, adding seven rebounds and three assists, while holding Panther leading scorer Montell Goodwin to seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.

It was a wire-to-wire victory, as Windler and senior Tyler Hadden (Cincinnati, Ohio) each scored five points in the first six minutes as Belmont led 15-4.

Senior Amanze Egekeze (Lake in the Hills, Ind.) capped a 10-0 run as the lead grew to 25-9, 11 minutes in.

Belmont shot 58 percent in the first half in leading 51-28 at halftime.

Windler had 19 first half points.

The Bruins maintained high-level defensive intensity and rebounding – and when freshman Nick Hopkins (Fayetteville, Tenn.) and senior Austin Luke (Rowlett, Texas) hit consecutive 3-pointers midway through the second half – Belmont led 74-45.

Windler has scored 105 points in his last four games.

Hadden added a career-high 17 points and eight rebounds, while Egekeze had 13.

Mack Smith led Eastern Illinois (7-13, 3-6 OVC) with 16 points.

Belmont has won 11 of its last 12 games.

Belmont (16-6, 8-1 OVC) returns to game action Saturday, Jan. 27 vs. SIU Edwardsville. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. CT from the Curb Event Center.

NOTES: Belmont improves to 8-2 vs. Eastern Illinois ... Belmont is 100-8 in its last 108 home games ... With the victory, Belmont head coach Rick Byrd ties Rick Pitino for 15th all-time in career victories with 770.