NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to game action Tuesday vs. Lipscomb.
Belmont defeated Middle Tennessee, 71-59, Nov. 30. Sophomore Nick Muszynski (Pickerington, Ohio) scored a game-high 20 points for the Bruins en route to OVC Player of the Week honors. The 6-11 center has 87 blocked shots in 40 career games, on pace to become the program's NCAA Division era leader in that category later this season.
Sophomore Adam Kunkel (Hebron, Ky.) has provided consistent scoring production this season. After playing behind Belmont all-time greats Dylan Windler and Kevin McClain last season, Kunkel has seen his playing time increase from 9.4 minutes per game as a freshman to 28.4 minutes per game this season. The 6-3 guard scored a career-high 35 points at Boston College (11/16/19) and scored 17 points at Middle Tennessee (11/30/19). Kunkel, named OVC Player of the Week Nov. 18, leads Belmont in scoring at 17.8 points per game.
Sophomore Grayson Murphy (Franklin, Tenn.) continues to set the tempo for the Bruins. The Preseason All-OVC selection has six or more assists and multiple steals in five games this season. No player in America under 6-3 has more rebounds than Murphy this season (73).
Senior captain Michael Benkert (Greenwood, Ind.) delivered two clutch baskets down the stretch in Belmont's victory at Middle Tennessee. The 6-4 guard has emerged as one of the top defensive players in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Entering 2019-20, Belmont's 167 road/neutral victories since 2006 ranks sixth nationally, trailing only Gonzaga, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke and Kentucky; Belmont traveled 8,449 miles during the month of November.
Belmont head coach Casey Alexander spent the last six seasons as head coach at Lipscomb. Alexander led the Bisons to the best three-year stretch of their NCAA Division I era and the first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. Lipscomb won 113 games during Alexander's tenure, including 72 over the final three campaigns. Last season, Lipscomb won 29 games and reached the Postseason NIT Championship game.
Belmont associate head coach Brian Ayers played for Don Meyer at Lipscomb from 1989-93. Ayers coached with Alexander at Belmont from 1998-2011 and Lipscomb assistant Roger Idstrom from 2000-11.
Belmont assistant coach Sean Rutigliano spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach at Lipscomb on Alexander's staff. Rutigliano also spent two seasons as an assistant coach for Lennie Acuff at UAH.
This is the first year since 1975 that a Belmont-Lipscomb series will be played without hall of fame coaches Rick Byrd or Don Meyer on the sidelines.
This marks the 146th meeting between Belmont and Lipscomb. Belmont won, 73-67, Nov. 20 at Lipscomb.
Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. CT from the Curb Event Center. 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.
Exclusive $5 tickets may be purchased here (through the end of the day Monday).
Belmont University men's basketball has earned postseason invitations 13 of the last 14 seasons, including eight berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins have won 17 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 nine 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 14 consecutive seasons (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, San Diego State). Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 17 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 and is the only NCAA Division I program to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence.