NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to action Thursday vs. Tennessee Tech.
Belmont was originally scheduled to play Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech was originally scheduled to play Southeast Missouri, but the teams came together with the Governors and Redhawks in health and safety protocol.
- Belmont defeated UT Martin, 81-55, Jan. 8.
- Grayson Murphy ranks fourth in assists and 10th in steals among all active players in college basketball. Murphy had 12 points, four rebounds and eight assists at UT Martin. The 6-3 guard went over 1,000 career points on a steal and score in the second half vs. Furman. Murphy is on pace to become the Ohio Valley Conference career leader in assists and steals. Murphy had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists vs. Tennessee Tech last season. He also had a career-high seven steals in the meeting at Tennessee Tech.
- Luke Smith has 74 career double figure scoring games. 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 had a team-high 20 points vs. Furman. He ranks among OVC leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio.
- Nick Muszynski has 13 double figure scoring games this season. The 6-11 center, named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lou Henson Award watch lists, averaged 24.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 blocked shots per game in the ESPN Events Invitational in earning All-Tournament Team honors. With 1,619 points, Muszynski is on pace to challenge Evan Bradds' NCAA Division I era career scoring record (1,921 points). He was named OVC Player of the Week Jan. 10. Muszynski is averaging 20.3 points per game in his last three games vs. Tennessee Tech
- Ben Sheppard had 13 points, five rebounds and two steals at UT Martin. He scored a career-high 25 points vs. Iona. Sheppard scored in double figures in each of Belmont's first 10 games. The 6-6 guard has emerged as Belmont's top two-way player.
- Will Richard had 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals vs. Southeast Missouri. He recorded 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds vs. Drake, becoming one of the fastest Belmont players to post a double-double. Richard ranks among OVC freshmen leaders in scoring and rebounding.
- JaCobi Wood had five points, four assists and three steals at UT Martin and had nine points in a 90-second span vs. Iona. The 6-2 guard had 20 double figure scoring games last season, including a career-high 21 points vs. UT Martin. Wood had 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists vs. Tennessee Tech last season.
- Even Brauns has 30 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots over his last three games.
Former Belmont head coach Rick Byrd served as an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech from 1980-83.
- 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.