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Bruins Defeat Kennesaw State for Share of Atlantic Sun Championship

Bruins Defeat Kennesaw State for Share of Atlantic Sun Championship

Feb. 27, 2010

Box Score |  Photo Gallery

NASHVILLE, TENN. - - Belmont men's basketball defeated Kennesaw State Saturday night, 74-42, to secure a share of its third Atlantic Sun Regular Season Championship in the past five years.

On a night that celebrated Belmont University Homecoming and the final regular season home games for seniors Keaton Belcher (Butler, Ky.) and Mike Dejworek (Ulm, Germany), the Bruins came out on a mission.

Sophomore Mick Hedgepeth (Crossville, Ala.) capped an 8-0 run to give Belmont an 8-3 lead four minutes in.

After a Matt Heramb tip-in got the visiting Owls within 15-9, freshman Trevor Noack (Keller, Texas) scored eight consecutive points to push the Bruin lead to 23-9.

Freshman Ian Clark (Memphis, Tenn.) would tack on a baseline three-pointer as Belmont seized complete control behind sound defense and unselfish offense.

Clark's touch helped increase the lead, and when junior Jon House (Guelph, Ont., Canada) scored in transition off a feed from sophomore Drew Hanlen (St. Louis, Mo.) the lead grew to 32, 49-17, with 33 seconds left in the half.

A Spencer Dixon conventional three-point play made the score 49-20 at halftime.

Belmont shot 52 percent (18-for-35) from the field in the opening 20 minutes - including 7-for-14 from three-point distance. Moreover, Belmont handed out 11 first half assists while committing only three turnovers.

Meanwhile, the Bruins held Kennesaw State to 26 percent (7-for-26) shooting while forcing 12 turnovers.

Clark had 13 first half points for Belmont.

At halftime, Belmont honored the 1994-95 squad that went a program-best 37-2 and earned a No. 1 national ranking in the NAIA polls.

The Bruins remained focused throughout the second half, not allowing the Owls to gain a measure of comfort offensively.

Back-to-back three-pointers from junior Jordan Campbell (Indianapolis, Ind.) stretched the lead to 60-26 with 13:44 left.

Freshman Kerron Johnson (Huntsville, Ala.) highlighted the second half for Belmont with several dazzling assists to setup easy Bruin baskets.

The largest Bruin lead was 36 with 11:00 left.

All told, Belmont shot 46 percent (26-for-57) from the field - including 11-for-26 from three-point distance. Belmont also grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and created a season-high 14 steals.

The Bruins held Kennesaw State to 24 percent (12-for-50) shooting and forced a season-high 23 turnovers.

Hedgepeth led Belmont with 14 points and nine rebounds. Clark had 13, while Hanlen added 10. Belcher and House each scored nine points, and Noack had a career-high eight. Campbell continued his fine all-court game with six points, five steals, four rebounds and four assists.

Markeith Cummings led Kennesaw State (12-19, 7-13 Atlantic Sun) with 19 points.

Belmont (19-11, 14-6 Atlantic Sun) shares the regular season conference championship with Jacksonville, Campbell and Lipscomb.

After tiebreakers, the Bruins receive the No. 3 seed in next week's Atlantic Sun Tournament. They will play host, No. 6 Mercer, next Thursday night at approximately 8 pm CT from the University Center in Macon, Ga.

For more information on the 2010 Atlantic Sun Basketball Championships, including ticket information, seeding, bracket and broadcast times, Click Here