CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - - Behind 23 points and 11 rebounds from senior Scott Saunders (New Orleans, La.), Belmont men's basketball led from start to finish in defeating Austin Peay, 77-67, Wednesday night.
Despite playing its fifth game in nine days, the Bruins showed no signs of mental or physical fatigue. Especially against the preseason OVC favorite Govs, who were riding a three-game win streak which included a victory at Tennessee.
Seven early points from Saunders carried Belmont to a 22-10 lead midway through the first half.
The hot shooting of Tyshawn Edmondson kept the host Governors in the game, closing within 39-32 at halftime.
The Bruins forced 10 first half turnovers.
In the second half, Belmont committed an uncharacteristically high number of turnovers, and the Governors chipped away at the Bruin lead.
Leading 54-51, junior Ian Clark (Memphis, Tenn.) sank consecutive three-pointers 24 seconds apart to push the lead to nine.
Austin Peay got within three points once more, but strong Belmont defense held the Govs scoreless for four minutes down the stretch as the Bruins pulled away.
All told, Belmont shot 47 percent (23-for-49) from the field - including 6-for-17 from three-point distance. The Bruins were also 25-for-32 from the free throw line and grabbed 11 steals.
Aside from Saunders' 23 points and 11 rebounds - his fourth career double-double - Belmont received 15 points and six assists from Johnson. Senior Drew Hanlen (St. Louis, Mo.) added 13 points and Clark scored 12.
Edmondson led Austin Peay (3-10) with 20 points, just three coming after halftime.
Belmont (8-5, 2-0 Atlantic Sun) returns to action Thursday, Dec. 29 vs. Marshall. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. CT from the Curb Event Center.
The live play-by-play of Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network. Live video streaming will be available via ASun.TV.