Belmont scorches nets, beats Golden Eagles in Eblen Center

Belmont scorches nets, beats Golden Eagles in Eblen Center

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont guards J.J. Mann and Ian Clark combined to make eight of their first nine 3-point tries and the Bruins controlled the boards to build a huge first-half lead and cruise to a 83-52 Ohio Valley Conference victory at Tennessee Tech Saturday night in Eblen Center.

It was the first game in league play between the two in-state rivals, and the first win for Belmont after Tech had won all 11 previous meetings in the series.

Belmont (11-4/2-0 OVC) shot 62.5 percent in the opening half while running out to a 32-point lead. The Bruins finished the game hitting 56.1 percent, including 52 percent (13-for-25) from 3-point range.

Mann finished with 21 points and Clark had 19 to pace Belmont, which also got 10 points from Blake Jenkins. Kerron Johnson had 10 of Belmont’s 24 assists and Clark added six helpers.

Tech (6-9/0-3 OVC) was led by senior Jud Dillard, who notched his fifth double-double of the season, finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Dennis Ogbe added 11 points while Jeremiah Samarrippas had nine points and five assists.

After shooting less than 20 percent for the first 12 minutes of the contest, Tech finished the first half hitting 34.6 percent. The Golden Eagle shot 32 percent in the second half and finished the game at 33.3 percent. Tech was 5-for-23 (21.7 percent) from long range.

Belmont raced on top, 26-3, when Clark drained his second 3-pointer with 10:31 remaning in the opening half. The margin ballooned to 32 points at the 2:54 mark when Mann's 3-pointer made it 48-16. Belmont's largest lead of the game was 40 points, 74-34, with 8:30 to play after a layup by Mann.

Belmont owned a 37-28 advantage in rebounds, while each team posted 19 turnovers.

The Golden Eagles hit the road for their next three games, playing at Eastern Illinois Thursday night and SIU Edwardsville Saturday. Tech will be at Southeast Missouri on Jan. 19, before returning to Eblen Center on Thursday, Jan. 24, to host Murray State in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.