This one was pretty much over from the word go. Belmont opens the game on a 23-3 run in the first 9:09, as the Bruins easily win on the road at Tennessee Tech 83-52.
The Bruins hit nine threes in the opening 20 minutes, as J.J. Mann and Ian Clark combine to go 8-9 from deep. Belmont records 16 assists in the first half, one fewer than the total number of field goals made for Tennessee Tech in the game.
Despite the blowout win, Rick Byrd doesn’t exactly empty the bench, with all five starters playing 26 or more minutes. Mann finished with 21 points on 7-12 shooting, and Clark was right behind with 19 points, going 6-9 from the field. Kerron Johnson has 10 assists, but just 8 points, falling short of the double-double.
Tennessee Tech shoots just 33% from the field on the night, with Jud Dillard leading the team with 21 points. Freshman Lanerryl Johnson got his first start of the season, but finishes just 1-10 from the field with five points. The Golden Eagles allow Belmont to shoot 62.5% in the first half, and 56% on the night. After the loss, Dennis Ogbe, who finished with 11 points on 4-7 shooting, tweeted, “Worst feeling in the world to let a great home crowd down. We will keep believing in us and you guys will too. Purple Pride!”
Belmont is off to a very good start in conference play, with two dominating wins on the road. If they were looking to make a statement to the conference, they’ve done it. Other than 19 turnovers on the night, (nine of which were in their dominant first half) it’s hard to find too many negatives in such a dominating win.
It’s early, but signs are starting to point to Tennessee Tech possibly missing the OVC tournament. They’re just 0-3, but unlike many other winless teams in conference play, two of those losses have come at home, and they were dominated in two of those losses. They’re going to have to get some wins on the road over the next two weeks, else the Golden Eagles will be 0-6, and in serious danger of being one of the four teams missing out in March.
Belmont plays their next four games at home, with Southeast Missouri (10-7, 2-1) and UT Martin (4-12, 1-3) next week. Tennessee Tech gets two of the weaker teams in the West Division, but both on the road as they travel to Eastern Illinois (3-13, 0-3) and SIU Edwardsville, (4-8, 0-2) where they lost last season.