Men's Basketball Defeats Northern State in Don Meyer Classic
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont men's basketball defeated Northern State Tuesday evening, 79-64, in the inaugural Don Meyer Classic.
The exhibition contest, which was broadcast nationally on ESPNU, honored former Northern State and Lipscomb head coach Don Meyer, who retired following the 2009-10 season with an all-time college basketball standard of 923 career victories. Meyer, whose courageous battle through a near-death car accident and later cancer, inspired longtime friend and ESPN senior baseball writer to pen a just-released book entitled, How Lucky You Can Be.
Belmont was also delighted to have Tennessee Titan kick return ace Marc Mariani on hand to toss a ceremonial jump ball prior to the game.
After Belmont scored the first five points of the game, Northern State – who provided stern opposition to Oklahoma and Creighton in exhibition games – went on a 13-4 run to seize a 13-9 lead seven minutes in.
Two free throws from freshman Blake Jenkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) stretched the lead to 16, 36-20, before Belmont took a 41-26 advantage to the locker room at halftime.
During halftime, both teams looked on as Coach Meyer was informed that he would be the next member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
The second half was characterized largely by ragged play and fouls – Belmont would commit 16 second half fouls and allow the Wolves to enter the bonus with 11:35 remaining.
But after Northern State trimmed the margin to nine, 50-41, on a three-pointer from Tydan Storrusten, Jenkins capped a 7-0 Bruin spurt to stretch the lead back to 16.
The ESPNU broadcast afforded both teams opportunities to do unique things during the game – including Byrd being mic'd during much of the second half.
All 16 Bruins on the roster saw action, with freshman Reece Chamberlain (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) ripping the nets from long distance in the final moments to close the scoring.
For the game, Belmont shot 54 percent (27-for-50) from the field – including 9-for-24 from three-point territory. Belmont outrebounded Northern State, 39-28.
The two teams combined for 43 turnovers.
Sophomore Brandon Baker (Milford, Ohio) paced the Bruins with 14 points. Clark added 10.
Northern State's Collin Pryor scored a game-high 15 points.
Belmont opens regular season play Tuesday, Nov. 16 at Tennessee in the NIT Season Tip-Off. Start time is set for 8:30 pm CT. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU and the Bruin Sports Network.