NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to game action Monday at Lipscomb.
Mercer scored a season-high 19 points, Egekeze scored 21 points, while Windler tallied his seventh double-double of the season.
Both teams will be finishing off a stretch of four games in eight days.
Belmont head coach Rick Byrd and Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander have a bond that dates back to the early 90's. Alexander, a product of nearby Brentwood Academy, played point guard for Byrd at Belmont from 1991-95. He won 119 games as a player and helped lead Belmont to the top of the NAIA. As a senior in 1994-95, Alexander directed the then-Rebels to a 37-2 record, a No. 1 national ranking, and an appearance in the NAIA National Semifinals. From there, he spent 16 seasons as a part of Byrd's coaching staff. Belmont won 287 games with Alexander on staff. More specifically, over Alexander's final eight seasons, the Bruins tallied 172 victories, six postseason appearances (four NCAA Tournament, one NIT, one CollegeInsider.com), four Atlantic Sun regular season championships, four Atlantic Sun tournament titles, a remarkable 132-41 record in Atlantic Sun play, and road victories over Missouri, Alabama, and Cincinnati.
Belmont associate head coach Brian Ayers played for Don Meyer at Lipscomb from 1989-93. Ayers coached with Alexander at Belmont from 1998-2011 and Roger Idstrom from 2000-11.
Lipscomb associate head coach Idstrom was a member of Belmont's staff from 2000-11.
Lipscomb assistant coach Steve Drabyn was an All-Atlantic Sun guard for Belmont from 2000-04. Drabyn led the nation in free throw percentage in 2003, and ranks ninth on the Bruins' NCAA era career scoring list with 1,237 points. Drabyn was recently inducted into the Belmont University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Belmont and Lipscomb have a combined five members in the NAIA Hall of Fame (Belmont: Rick Byrd, Joe Behling; Lipscomb: Don Meyer, Philip Hutcheson, John Pierce).
The 2016-17 meetings were among the most dramatic and memorable finishes in Battle of the Boulevard series history. Nov. 29, 2017, Evan Bradds threw a length-of-the-floor pass to Dylan Windler who scored with 0.8 seconds left to give Belmont a 64-62 win. One week later, Taylor Barnette made a 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left in overtime to give Belmont a 78-76 victory. Both finishes made ESPN SportsCenter.
This marks the 142nd meeting between Belmont and Lipscomb. The Battle of the Boulevard series dates back to 1953, with Lipscomb holding a 74-67 series lead. Belmont holds a 20-10 series lead in the NCAA Division I era of the rivalry (2004-present). Lipscomb won, 74-66, November 27, to snap Belmont's 11-game win streak in the series.
Tip-off is set for 7:15 p.m. CT (following the Belmont-Lipscomb women's basketball game at 5 p.m.). The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. The live play-by-play of Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network. In-game updates will be available via Twitter @BelmontMBB.
NOTE: A select number of Belmont student tickets remain; interested parties should contact Belmont University athletic marketing.