Stung in the Second Half

Photo Courtesy: MaryKate Drews
Photo Courtesy: MaryKate Drews

ATLANTA, Ga. - - Belmont University men's basketball endured a difficult second half in dropping a 71-57 decision at Georgia Tech Sunday afternoon in the second round of the 2017 Postseason NIT.

After burying 14 3-point field goals Wednesday in victory at Georgia, the Bruins simply could not find the range against the Yellow Jackets - who entered play No. 4 nationally in defensive efficiency.

Belmont rebounded from an early 19-10 deficit, seizing a 26-25 lead with 1:36 left in the first half on a 3-pointer from senior Nick Smith (Bentonville, Ark.).

But baskets from Tadric Jackson and Quinton Stephens gave Georgia Tech a 30-26 lead at halftime.

Belmont shot 30 percent (10-for-33) from the field in the opening 20 minutes - including 5-for-19 from 3-point distance.

The lid on the Bruin basket would not be lifted to open the second half, as Belmont made one field goal in the first 6:10 after halftime.

A string of missed open 3-pointers seemed to wear on the Bruins, as empty possessions led to open court opportunities for the Ramblin' Wreck.

Quinton Stephens' jumper capped the Georgia Tech burst and made the score 54-31 with 11:17 remaining.

Smith led a Bruin charge, as Belmont got within 12 in the final moments.

Belmont shot a season-low 33 percent from the field - including 11-for-33 from 3-point distance.

Smith led three Bruins in double figures with 14 points. Senior Evan Bradds (Jamestown, Ohio) and junior Amanze Egekeze (Lake in the Hills, Ill.) each scored 10.

Stephens led Georgia Tech (19-15) with 23 points.

Belmont finishes the 2016-17 season with a record of 23-7.

NOTES: With 10 points, Bradds passed Ian Clark for Belmont's NCAA Division I career scoring mark ... Bradds ends his decorated Belmont career with 1,921 points ... Belmont committed 17 turnovers that led to 27 Georgia Tech points ... Austin Luke had eight assists ... Belmont outrebounded Georgia Tech, 40-36 ... This marked Belmont's first-ever double figure setback in the Postseason NIT.