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Eastern Kentucky Game Preview

Eastern Kentucky Game Preview

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to game action Thursday at Eastern Kentucky.

The Bruins defeated UT Martin, 82-67, Feb. 2. Freshman Nick Muszynski (Pickerington, Ohio) had 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for Belmont en route to his fifth OVC Freshman of the Week award. The 6-11 center has scored 20 or more points in five of his last eight games, and leads the OVC in blocked shots per game.
 
Senior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.) had 23 points and five assists vs. UT Martin, the latest in a long line of productive games. The 6-3 guard has been named OVC Player of the Week twice this season, and is averaging 22.4 points and 4.4 assists per game over his last seven games. McClain ranks among OVC leaders in five statistical categories, including fifth in points per game (16.3) and fifth in assists per game (4.0).
 
Senior Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) provided 23 points and 13 rebounds vs. UT Martin, his 28th career double-double. The 6-8 guard/forward has double figure rebounds in six of his last seven games and leads the OVC in rebounding (10.1) for a second consecutive season. Also vs. the Skyhawks, Windler passed Kerron Johnson ('13) for ninth on Belmont's NCAA Division I era career scoring list. Windler has 1,391 points. The Indianapolis native was named as a candidate for the Julius Erving Award and the Senior CLASS Award Wednesday.
 
Sophomore Nick Hopkins (Fayetteville, Tenn.) scored 15 points vs. UT Martin. The 6-0 guard is averaging 10.5 points per game over his last eight games, three of which have been starts. Hopkins has 17 career double figure scoring games.
 
Freshman Grayson Murphy (Franklin, Tenn.) handed out 11 assists vs. UT Martin. The 6-2 guard has 32 assists over his last three games, including a Belmont NCAA Division I era single-game record 15 assists at Austin Peay Jan. 26. Murphy ranks second in the OVC in assists per game (6.2).
 
Windler and Eastern Kentucky senior Nick Mayo have been two of the most outstanding players in recent history of the OVC. The duo rank 1-2 and 1-3, among active OVC scorers and rebounders, respectively, while also handing out over 200 career assists each. Windler and Mayo each received OVC Preseason Player of the Year accolades from various college basketball publications.
 
Former Belmont standout and 2014 OVC Player of the Year J.J. Mann played at Hargrave Military Academy, where he was coached by Eastern Kentucky head coach A.W. Hamilton.
 
Belmont freshman Adam Kunkel had six points and two steals vs. Eastern Kentucky Jan. 12. Kunkel was a 2018 Kentucky Mr. Basketball Finalist from Cooper High School in Hebron, Kentucky.
 
This marks the 18th meeting between Belmont and Eastern Kentucky.
 
Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and the ESPN 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.
 
Belmont at Eastern Kentucky Game Notes

Belmont University men's basketball has earned postseason invitations 12 of the last 13 seasons, including seven automatic berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins have won 16 conference championships since 2006 - third-most nationally over that span (Gonzaga, Kansas). Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs outside the Power 5 to post Top 100 RPIs eight consecutive seasons (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA), San Diego State, Wichita State). Belmont is one of only nine NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games 13 consecutive seasons (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, San Diego State). Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 16 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 and is one of only three NCAA Division I programs to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence.