Belmont has had Lipscomb’s number as of late.
The Bruins have won the last five against their cross-town rival, and done so impressively — winning by an average of 24.6 points. But it wasn’t that long ago that Lipscomb, not Belmont, was the belle of the Battle of the Boulevard. Before this recent win streak, the Bison had won five of six, even while Belmont was winning Atlantic Sun titles.
The rivalry took another step forward last year, when former Bruin Casey Alexander took over the rival Lipscomb. While the first game proved to be tight, the Bison were far outpowered when they made the long two-mile journey just weeks later.
If there were an opening for Lipscomb to break the streak, this could be it.
In more ways than one, Belmont didn’t look like anything we’ve come to expect from the Bruins under Rick Byrd in their loss at Wright State. The Bruins didn’t shoot but 15 three’s, they had just five team assists, the fewest for a Belmont team in nearly a decade, committed 21 turnovers, and four players combined for all but seven of the Bruins 70 points.
But, Belmont was still had a chance to beat a Horizon League team on the road in the final seconds, coming up just short. And those four individual performances were quite impressive: Evan Bradds was 8-9 from the field, Taylor Barnette hit all three Bruins triples, and Reece Chamberlain managed 12 rebounds, and shot 6-11 himself.
Lipscomb is hosting Belmont off of a non-Division I win. Sophomore Josh Williams, and all-Atlantic Sun freshman selection last year, scored 32 points on 9-15 shooting. The Bison pulled down 21 offensive rebounds, and hit 11 three’s as a team.
But Lipscomb struggled with turnovers themselves, coughing up 22.
This year, another former Bruin joins the rivalry on the other side: senior Chad Lang, who played limited minutes under Belmont head coach Rick Byrd. He only played six minutes in the Bison opener, and will likely see limited minutes, but it does add an bit of interesting dynamic when he sees the floor.
A loss is far from a disaster for Belmont — 0-2 isn’t a season-ender. But the Bruins need to get back to their style of basketball. If they do, there’s little reason to doubt that the win’s won’t come as well.