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Drake Preview

Drake Preview

[rv/rv] Drake vs. Belmont
Thursday, Nov. 25 | 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT
HP Field House | Kissimmee, Fla.
ESPNU | Bruin Sports Network | Live Stats | Game Notes

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to game action Thanksgiving night vs. [rv/rv] Drake in the ESPN Events Invitational.

Will Richard had 16 points, five rebounds and three assists Monday. Richard has four consecutive double figure scoring games and is averaging 14.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game over his last four games.

What's Bruin
  • Grayson Murphy had 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and a career-high seven steals vs. Furman. The 6-3 guard went over 1,000 career points on a steal and score in the second half. Murphy is on pace to become the Ohio Valley Conference career leader in assists and steals.
  • Luke Smith scored a team-high 20 points vs. Furman. The 6-0 guard was named Preseason All-OVC after earning OVC All-Newcomer Team and DC Paradise Jam Most Valuable Player honors last season. Smith has 1,390 career points and 70 career double figure scoring games.
  • Ben Sheppard had 14 points and three assists Monday. The 6-6 guard has scored in double figures in every game this season and has emerged as Belmont's top two-way player.
  • JaCobi Wood scored a season-high 13 points vs. Furman. The 6-2 guard had 20 double figure scoring games last season, including a career-high 21 points in his debut vs. Howard.
  • Belmont and Drake each earned NCAA Tournament at-large bids in the last three years; Belmont defeated Temple in the 2019 NCAA Tournament while Drake defeated Wichita State in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
  • Belmont and Drake went 52-9 combined last season.
  • Belmont head coach Casey Alexander and Drake head coach Darian DeVries have each received national coaching honors from CollegeInsider.com.
  • Sophomore Even Brauns is a native of Iowa City, Iowa.
  • Belmont head coach Casey Alexander's first head coaching job was close to Orlando, at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. When he was at Stetson, Alexander befriended former Orlando Magic head coach and current TNT game analyst Stan Van Gundy.
  • This marks Belmont's first game in the state of Florida since its 2019 NCAA Tournament game vs. Maryland in Jacksonville. Belmont had a potential game-winning backdoor pass in the final seconds tipped away and Maryland won, 79-77.
  • Belmont won an MTE last season (DC Paradise Jam)
  • Belmont went 26-4 last season, claiming its 12th regular season conference championship in 16 years, seventh in nine years of OVC membership. The Bruins entered Selection Sunday with the most wins in America (with Gonzaga).
  • Belmont returns 97 percent of its offensive production and minutes from last season. All-OVC performers Nick Muszynski and Grayson Murphy stand among the most accomplished players at their respective positions in college basketball.
  • Belmont, Gonzaga and Buffalo are the only three programs outside the power conferences to win NCAA Tournament games in men's and women's basketball since 2019.
  • Belmont and BYU were the only two programs outside the power conferences to receive Preseason AP Top 25 poll votes in men's and women's basketball.
  • Belmont will join the Missouri Valley Conference July 1, 2022.
This marks the first meeting between Belmont and Drake.

Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and the ESPN app. The live play-by-play can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network. In-game updates will be available via Twitter @BelmontMBB.

Belmont University men's basketball has earned postseason invitations 14 of the last 16 seasons, including nine berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins have won 20 conference championships since 2006 - third-most nationally over that span (Gonzaga, Kansas). Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs outside the Power 5 to post Top 100 rankings 11 consecutive seasons (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA), San Diego State, Wichita State). Belmont is one of only four NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games 16 consecutive seasons (Gonzaga, Kansas, San Diego State). Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 18 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 and is the only NCAA Division I program to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence