Total Team Effort as Bruins Defeat Jacksonville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont men's basketball turned in another total team effort in defeating Jacksonville, 81-50, Monday night.
Both defenses would be strong early, as a Glenn Powell interior basket would be the lone points for the first three minutes of the game.
But junior Mick Hedgepeth (Crossville, Ala.) got the Bruins on the board with an offensive rebound basket 3:11 in, a play that sparked the team's offense.
Bruin fans who braved the remnants of a winter storm that pounded the Southeast Monday would be rewarded.
Belmont limited Jacksonville to two made field goals in the first 11 minutes of the game, and turned strong halfcourt defense into offense.
After a Rusell Powell jumper got the Dolphins within 28-17, Johnson, Jenkins and Mann led a 14-2 Bruin run that increased the Belmont lead to 42-19 with 43 seconds left in the half.
Keion Palmer made a short jumper to make the score 42-21 at halftime.
Belmont shot 47 percent (14-for-30) from the field in the opening 20 minutes - including 7-for-17 from three-point distance.
The Bruins also held the Dolphins to 28 percent shooting while forcing 12 turnovers.
Sophomore Ian Clark (Memphis, Tenn.) scored the opening basket of the second half as the Bruins maintained their high levels of focus and intensity.
Though several Bruin shots rimmed off in the second half, strong offensive rebounding effort yielded putback baskets or free throw attempts.
Johnson and junior Drew Hanlen (St. Louis, Mo.) kept the Belmont offense crisp and efficient in the second half against Dolphin pressure defense to secure the victory.
All told, Belmont shot 44 percent (27-for-62) from the field - including 9-for-26 from three-point distance. The Bruins outrebounded Jacksonville, 44-39, and forced 22 turnovers.
Johnson led three Bruins in double figures with a career-high tying 15 points. Saunders added his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Hedgepeth added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Powell led Jacksonville (10-4, 4-1 Atlantic Sun) with 16 points.
Belmont (14-3, 6-0 Atlantic Sun) returns to action Thursday against Lipscomb. Tip-off is set for 7:30pm CT from the Curb Event Center.
The live play-by-play of Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network and 104.5 The Zone.
The game will also be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.