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Making it Work

Making it Work

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Behind 18 points each from Ben Sheppard and Will Richard, Belmont University men's basketball defeated Tennessee Tech, 92-77, Thursday from the Curb Event Center.

Sheppard and Richard led six Bruins in double figures as Belmont shot 57 percent from the field in the first half.

The game came together in less than 24 hours, as Belmont was originally scheduled to play Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech was originally scheduled to play Southeast Missouri. With the Governors and Redhawks in health and safety protocol, Belmont and Tennessee Tech agreed to play.

Belmont hit four 3-point field goals in the first six and a half minutes, as JaCobi Wood gave the Bruins a 16-6 lead.

Four points from Richard sandwiched around a Frank Jakubicek basket made the score 34-18 with 6:01 left in the first half.

The Bruins closed the first half on a 12-3 run, with Wood's driving layin giving Belmont a 50-28 lead at halftime.

Belmont had 13 points off turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, while limiting Tennessee Tech to three second chance points.

With Tennessee Tech, who challenged Tennessee, Cincinnati and Chattanooga in the non-conference, playing its first game in 23 days, the visitors demonstrated poise and purpose to open the second half.

A Diante Wood conventional 3-point play got Tennessee within 13, 61-48, with 12:50 remaining.

Richard and JaCobi Wood combined on seven points to push the Belmont lead back to 18.

And while the Bruins endured uncharacteristic free throw shooting in the second half, Grayson Murphy recaptured a measure of Belmont's first half form with a remarkable sprawling, fullcourt, no-look overhead pass to Sheppard for a slam.

All told, Belmont shot 52 percent (34-of-65) from the field - including 11-of-26 from 3-point distance.

Belmont had 20 assists and eight steals.

JaCobi Wood had 13 points and three assists while Luke Smith scored 11.

Nick Muszynski and Tate Pierson each had 10.

Murphy had nine rebounds, eight assists and two steals.

Daniel Ramsey led Tennessee Tech (3-11, 0-1 OVC) with 18 points.

Belmont (13-3, 3-0 OVC) returns to game action Saturday vs. Murray State.

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