Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Bruins Fall at FGCU

Bruins Fall at FGCU

Feb. 20, 2010

Box Score

FORT MYERS, FLA. - - Belmont men's basketball dropped an 85-80 decision at FGCU Saturday.

Much like Thursday night at Stetson, the Bruins got off to a slow start. Three turnovers and eight quick points from Reed Baker dug Belmont an early 10-4 hole.

But two free throws from junior Jon House (Guelph, Ont., Canada) and a three-pointer from junior Jordan Campbell (Indianapolis, Ind.) got the Bruins within 12-11 six minutes in.

But a conventional three-point play from Sherwood Brown and a three-pointer from reserve Charlie Lytle extended the Eagles lead to 18-11.

After a cold start, freshman Ian Clark (Memphis, Tenn.) buried a trey in transition to get the Bruins within 23-20 with 7:09 left in the half.

A steal and layin from Reggie Chambers bumped the FGCU lead back to 27-22 before the Bruins closed the half strong. Five straight points from sophomore Drew Hanlen (St. Louis, Mo.) gave Belmont its first lead at 29-27 with 3:28 in the half.

After four points from sophomore Mick Hedgepeth (Crossville, Ala.) and another clutch three-pointer from Campbell, sophomore Jonny Rice (Naperville, Ill.) closed the half with a determined drive and finish at the rim to send the Bruins to the locker room up six, 38-32.

Belmont shot 54 percent (13-for-24) from the field in the first half and outrebounded the Eagles 19-9. But eight first half turnovers hurt the Bruin cause.

Following the inspired drive by Rice to end the half, one would have thought Belmont would storm out of the gates to open the second half and seize control. That did not transpire.

Seven empty offensive trips to open the second half - two turnovers, two missed free throws and four missed shots - allowed the Eagles to go on an 8-0 run and take a 40-38 lead with 16:21 left.

The Bruins would answer with threes from Clark and Campbell and a driving layin from freshman Kerron Johnson (Huntsville, Ala.) to reclaim a 47-42 edge with 13:45 remaining.

But as the second half progressed, Belmont would seem uncharacteristically off its form on defense. The Eagles showed aggressiveness, scored contested baskets and drew fouls.

In fact, Hedgepeth picked up three fouls in a 28 second span midway through the second half to force him to the bench.

The lead swung back and forth for several minutes before FGCU inched ahead. In the bonus with 9:27 left in regulation, the Eagles worked their way to the free throw line and capitalized on virtually every opportunity.

Free throws from Brown and Anthony Banks gave FGCU a 58-53 lead with 7:38 left.

Freshman Brandon Baker (Milford, Ohio) scored an interior basket before Hanlen sank a wing three-pointer to get Belmont within 59-58 with 6:25 left.

Moments later, Hedgepeth committed his fifth personal foul and left the game with 6:09 to go.

But, two Hanlen free throws and a strong post finish from sophomore Scott Saunders (New Orleans, La.) tied the score at 65 with 4:02 left.

A loose ball rebounding foul on Baker sent Banks to the line following the under four timeout, and Banks made both to put the Eagles back ahead 67-65.

Hanlen proceeded to miss a pullup jumper in the lane, and after the FGCU rebound, the Bruins had poor floor balance and Reggie Chambers stormed to the basket before a scrambling Campbell caught up and fouled at the rim.

Chambers made two more free throws to increase the FGCU lead to 69-65 with 3:19 left.

Belmont then freed Clark for a nice baseline three-point attempt, but the shot rimmed off.

The Bruins followed with a solid defensive possession, forcing Reed Baker to take a challenged fadeaway jumper. But again, Sherwood Brown crashed the offensive glass and scored a deflating putback basket to give the Eagles a six point lead with 2:48 left.

Baker got Belmont within four off a nice assist from Clark, but while the Bruins' pressure defense forced some Eagle uneasiness, it only yielded more fouls rather than steals.

Chambers made two more free throws to extend the lead back to 73-67 with 2:20 to go.

Senior Keaton Belcher (Butler, Ky.) drilled a baseline three-pointer to cut the deficit in half.

But able to play a possession of halfcourt defense, Clark was a bit overzealous in pressuring Chambers as he crossed the midcourt stripe and committed his fifth personal foul with 1:58 left. It was a painful blow, as now Belmont's top two leading scorers had fouled out.

Becoming machine-like, Chambers sank two more free throws to put the Eagles back up five.

Again the Bruins replied with a Jon House interior basket off a crisp pass from Johnson.

Trailing 75-72 with 1:45 left, Belmont again played a solid possession of defense, forcing Chambers into a perimeter shot. But the latest in an alarming list of Sherwood Brown putback baskets stung severely, putting the Eagles up 77-72 with 1:12 left.

Belcher proceeded to get fouled on a layin attempt; he would make both free throws to bump the Bruins back within one possession, 77-74, with 1:03 left.

Rather than succumbing to agonizing free throws or an offensive rebound, the Bruins' pressure defense gave Baker a minor sliver of space across midcourt, which he used to drive and pass to Brown for a baseline layin and a 79-74 margin with 50 seconds left.

The eye-opening, end-to-end action continued as Baker scored a tough interior basket while being fouled by Banks. His conventional three-point play got Belmont back within 79-77 with 43 ticks left.

Unable to risk playing a possession of defense and coming up empty, the Bruins elected to again extend full court pressure and force the Eagles' hand. Once again, they made the play. Hunter Miller broke free and found Kyle Marks for a dunk and an 81-77 lead with 29 seconds to go.

Back came the Bruins. Johnson fed Baker baseline, who confidently drilled a three-pointer in front of the Belmont bench to get the team within 81-80 with 25 seconds left.

Belmont nearly forced a turnover and jump ball on the subsequent inbounds pass, but Kerron Johnson was called for a foul on Chambers.

He continued the remarkable stretch of Eagle free throw shooting by making two more and extending the lead back to three.

In search of a game-tying three-pointer - and with Clark out due to fouls - Belmont ran a play for its fifth-year senior Belcher. But his baseline three-pointer with 10 seconds left was defended well by Reed Baker and came up short.

Brown was fouled on the rebound and he made both free throws to provide the final margin.

All told, it was a painful result and second half for Belmont to digest. The Bruins shot 53 percent (26-for-49) for the game - including 9-for-27 from three-point distance.

But Belmont was outrebounded in the second half, as the Eagles shot 52 percent after halftime. Moreover, FGCU went 20-for-22 from the free throw line in the second half, making its final 15 free throw attempts of the game.

Clark led balanced Belmont scoring with 11 points. Hanlen and Baker each scored 10. House, Hedgepeth and Campbell had 9 apiece.

Banks led FGCU (8-20, 5-13 Atlantic Sun) with 16 points.

Belmont (17-11, 12-6 Atlantic Sun) returns to action Thursday, Feb. 25 against Mercer. Tip-off is set for 7:15 pm CT from the Curb Event Center.

The live play-by-play from Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network, with video streaming via ASun.TV.