DeLAND, Fla. - - In one of the highest scoring college basketball games of the season, Belmont men's basketball outlasted Stetson, 106-93, Monday night.
With Belmont head coach Rick Byrd reuniting with former player and assistant coach and current Stetson head coach Casey Alexander, an uptempo affair was anticipated.
But no one in attendance could have predicted the torrid scoring that materialized.
Senior Drew Hanlen (St. Louis, Mo.) scored 11 points in the first 4:29 of the game as Belmont led 16-9.
Junior Adam Barnes (Clarksville, Tenn.) added two free throws to extend the lead to nine, before Stetson responded with a barrage of three-point field goals of its own.
Four Hatter treys in a two and a half minute stretch got the hosts within 31-29 with 10:22 left in the half.
With the shot clock operator relegated to spectator status in the remarkable end-to-end action, sophomore J.J. Mann (Smyrna, Ga.) buried consecutive three-pointers to put the Bruins up 37-29 with 8:47 left in the half.
The scoring spree continued, as three layins from senior Mick Hedgepeth (Crossville, Ala.) and a wing three-pointer from freshman Reece Chamberlain (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) pushed the lead to 46-35 with 6:37 left in the half.
Following two Mann free throws, Adam Pegg carried Stetson during a run that got the Hatters within 53-47.
But two free throws from junior Kerron Johnson (Huntsville, Ala.) in the final sequence of the half sent Belmont to the locker room up nine, 56-47.
When the dust settled, the two teams combined for 24 assists on 37 made field goals - including 16 three-pointers. Hanlen had 14 first half points, while Hedgepeth and Mann each had 11.
Surprisingly, given all the scoring, junior Ian Clark (Memphis, Tenn.) was held scoreless in the opening 20 minutes. But he would more than make up for lost time in the second half.
A floater from sophomore Blake Jenkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) extended the Bruin lead to 11, before Stetson stormed back. Pegg and Aaron Graham combined on 11 points in a three minute span that got the Hatters within 63-62 with 15:30 left.
Two free throws from senior Scott Saunders (New Orleans, La.) and a Clark three-pointer halted the Stetson momentum.
Hedgepeth added a layin to give Belmont a 74-67 lead with 12:12 left. But Pegg would not be deterred.
Doing his best Kevin Love impression, Pegg made his fifth three-pointer of the game to inch the Hatters within 74-70.
But conventional three-point plays from junior Trevor Noack (Keller, Texas) and Johnson pushed the lead back to 84-73 with 8:44 left.
Pegg would continue to keep Stetson in it, but Saunders and Clark answered with scores of their own.
Another Hanlen three-pointer made the score 91-79 with 6:25 remaining.
A deep three-pointer from Chris Perez got Stetson within 93-86 with 3:58 remaining, but Clark would score nine points in the final 3:34 to help Belmont secure the victory.
All told, Belmont shot 58 percent (37-for-64) from the field - including 12-for-20 from three-point distance. The Bruins also went 20-for-21 from the free throw line, and outrebounded the Hatters, 35-29.
Clark led five Bruins with 23 points - all in the second half. Hanlen had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Hedgepeth tallied 17 points and five rebounds.
Johnson had 16 points and eight assists. Mann scored 11, with five rebounds and three steals.
Pegg - who has made nine of his 11 conference three-pointers in two games against Belmont - led Stetson (8-18, 5-10 Atlantic Sun) with a career-high 31 points.
The Bruins scored 100 points or more for the 11th time in its NCAA era. With the victory, Belmont has won 20 or more games in seven of the last nine years.
Belmont (20-7, 12-2 Atlantic Sun) returns to action Saturday, Feb. 18 against ETSU. Tip-off is set for approximately 7:15 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 and 104.5 The Zone. Live video streaming will be available via ASun.TV.