photo courtesy of Belmont Athletics
Goodbye Seniors, Goodnight Atlantic Sun
Monday night was a big night on the campus of Belmont University. It was the final home game of the regular season as a member of the Atlantic Sun. The Bruins entered the night with a chance to wrap up at least a share of the Atlantic Sun regular season title. And it was the last chance for the three seniors to suit up in the Curb Event Center. The night did not disappoint.
The Bruins completed their home schedule 13-1 by finishing off the pesky Spartans 88-79 in a high paced, at times, frenetic game. The Bruins used a quick start and balanced scoring to keep the Spartans from the season sweep. Blake Jenkins got the scoring off early with a free throw to put the Bruins up one and they never looked back. Drew Hanlen continued his hot shooting from behind the arc by making 4 of 8 from three-point range. The Spartans used their tenacious full court press and a big night from freshman Ty Greene to spark a 12-2 run in the second half that narrowed the lead to three, at 63-60. From there, Kerron Johnson relentlessly attacked the rim and Bruins made some timely shots to seal the victory. The Spartans defense forced the Belmont guards into 12 turnovers and 20 in total to keep the game within reach. However, poor shot selection finally did in the Spartans. The Bruin’s job was done.
Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, Parker Smith was putting on a show for the ages. A Mercer loss to North Florida would mean the Bruins could do no worse than a tie for the Atlantic Sun regular season title. After a stunning loss to Jacksonville on Saturday, the Bears responded by allowing Osprey junior guard Parker Smith to score 46 points on 11 of 17 shooting from deep. Feel free to read that last sentence again. A 75-66 North Florida win paired with a Bruin victory clinched it for Belmont. If the Bruins win one of the next two games or Mercer has one more mishap, Belmont will be crowned regular season champs. Just another accolade to add for this decorated senior class.
Drew, Mick and Scott have been nothing but impressive in their time in Nashville. Over the four years Drew and Mick played in the Curb Event Center (Scott transferring in later), the Bruins posted a home record of 49-8. From Mick’s game winner against Mercer in the Atlantic Sun tournament first round as a freshman to Drew’s lights out shooting performance against the Bison(s) this season, this class has exceeded expectations. With one banner already in the rafters, only thing left for this class to do: win it again.
Not bad for a Monday night in the Music City.
Belmont tips off tomorrow at Kennesaw State at 7 p.m. ET