Belmont steamrolls East Tennessee State
Johnson City, TN (Sports Network) – Andrew Preston poured in 18 points and
grabbed 10 rebounds, as Belmont crushed East Tennessee State, 94-67, in the
title game of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament to secure a spot in the
Andy Wicke also had 18 points for the Bruins (23-9), who captured the Atlantic
Sun Conference Tournament title for the second straight year. Belmont defeated
Lipscomb by five points in overtime a year ago to win the A-Sun crown.
Justin Hare contributed 17 points and five rebounds off the bench for Belmont,
which recorded a 79-61 quarterfinal victory over seventh-seeded Gardner-Webb
on Thursday before knocking off sixth-seeded Campbell in Friday’s semifinal
Courtney Pigram had 21 points for the Buccaneers (24-9), who struggled
shooting from the field at 36.2 percent. The Bucs also struggled from long
distance, shooting just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.
Andrew Reed had 13 points and eight boards for East Tennessee State, which
advanced to the final after a 77-72 triumph over fourth-seeded Lipscomb on
Belmont grabbed control early and went up 17-8 after Keaton Belcher drained a
three-pointer about six minutes into the contest.
The Bruins continued to run in front and extended their lead to 15 points at
37-22 after Wicke hit a three-pointer with 5:25 to play in the first half.
Belmont, which led by as many as 27 points in the opening 20 minutes, went
into halftime with a comfortable 19-point advantage at 49-30.
The Bruins continued to cruise in the second half and saw their lead balloon
to 23 points after Preston’s jumper in the paint made it 63-40 about five
minutes into the second stanza.
East Tennessee State never got close to threatening and was only able to pull
within 14 points the remainder of the contest.
Belmont shot 50 percent from the field and 48 percent from beyond the
arc…The Bruins outrebounded the Buccaneers, 53-33…Belmont’s bench scored
47 points…East Tennessee State still leads the all-time series at 6-4.