NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont's victory over Murray State in the 2020 OVC Championship game comes in at No. 1 of our countdown of the Top 10 moments of the 2019-20 season.
Belmont and Murray State met for the fifth time in the Bruins' eight-year history in the Ohio Valley Conference, and one of college basketball's top rivalries once again delivered high drama and a heartstopping finish as neither team led by more than two possessions over the final 11 minutes of the game.
Nick Muszynski, who missed the 2019 OVC Championship game due to injury, delivered his finest performance in a Belmont uniform with 25 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots en route to OVC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
Muszynski's inside scoring and the mid-range game of Adam Kunkel pushed Belmont to an eight-point lead midway through the first half.
But after Grayson Murphy was whistled for his second personal foul, Murray State responded with 14-3 run, taking a 31-28 lead on Tevin Brown's conventional 3-point play.
After Belmont 33-32 at halftime, Murray State scored the first seven points of the second half to claim its largest lead of the game.
Belmont played long stretches of the second half without Muszynski, who picked up his fourth personal foul with 9:03 remaining.
Kunkel would tie the score at 65 on a determined drive, before baskets from Jaiveon Eaves and Anthony Smith upped the Murray State edge to four, 69-65, with 4:08 remaining.
Kunkel sank two clutch free throws following the under four media timeout, and Scanlon followed with a twisting drive to tie the score at 69 with 3:30 left.
Following one Demond Robinson free throw, Muszynski would return to play at the 3:09 mark.
However, after an empty offensive possession, Belmont shouldered a baseline slam and conventional 3-point play from Brown as the lead went back to four, 73-69, with 2:49 to go.
That is when Muszynski reasserted his presence inside; first, he denied Williams at the rim with a blocked shot, then scored from the left block to cut the deficit in half.
After a defensive stop, Muszynski converted a conventional 3-point play from the right block to put Belmont ahead, 74-73 with 1:26 remaining.
Scanlon proceeded to steal the ball from Smith as he elevated on a jump hook, giving Belmont the lead and possession with under one minute to play.
Looking to extend the lead, Belmont worked Muszynski free for a diagonal lob feed, but Murphy's entry pass grazed the rim and went to Murray State on the loose ball.
Murray State pushed the ball into the frontcourt, but DaQuan Smith's 3-pointer with 35 seconds rimmed off and Benkert secured the rebound.
Belmont calmly found Kunkel, who was fouled by Eaves with 22 seconds remaining.
However, Kunkel's front-end of the one-and-one free throws whirlpooled out, and Murray State gained possession with the shot clock off.
Following a timeout, Murray State turned to Brown, who would lose his balance battling Benkert on a behind-the-back dribble. As Brown fell, Benkert would be whistled for a tripping foul near the logo with 11 seconds left.
Brown made two free throws to give Murray State a 75-74 lead.
After Belmont called timeout in the frontcourt to set up a final play, Murray State defended the action well and forced Belmont to call its final timeout.
From there, Belmont freed Kunkel, who drove the left wing and found Scanlon cutting backdoor for a go-ahead reverse layin with 3.8 seconds remaining.
Murray State quickly inbounded the basketball, but as Brown approached midcourt, Murray State called timeout with 2.0 seconds left.
The Racers were awarded possession in the backcourt, roughly 65 feet from their basket.
Belmont defended Murray State's final action well, and Eaves' desperation shot did not get off cleanly.
Muszynski, Kunkel and Murphy were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The victory marked Belmont's 19 conference championship and ninth NCAA Tournament bid since 2006.
Belmont ended the season with 12 consecutive wins, the nation's fifth-longest active win streak.