Taylor Made for Belmont

Taylor Made for Belmont

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - In front of an exuberant home-opening crowd, Belmont University men's basketball defeated Trevecca Nazarene, 96-76, Wednesday night.

The Bruins looked to continue momentum from Monday night's stirring victory at Lipscomb.

Meanwhile, the visiting Trojans, who played Vanderbilt tough into the second half Sunday, played with great poise and purpose early.

With junior Craig Bradshaw (Ridgetop, Tenn.) picking up a second personal foul three and a half minutes into the game, Belmont turned to sophomore Nick Smith (Bentonville, Ark.) to provide some scoring punch.

Consecutive three-pointers from sophomore Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.) gave Belmont a 19-16 lead nine minutes in.

But after six ties and five lead changes in the opening 10 minutes, Jalen Palm gave Trevecca a 22-21 lead with a wing three-pointer.

But Belmont methodically built a working margin, using its halfcourt execution and balanced attack.

Smith and sophomore Caleb Chowbay (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) replied with back-to-back three-pointers before junior Jeff Laidig (Mishawaka, Ind.) completed the 8-0 run.

After a jump hook from freshman Amanze Egekeze (Lake in the Hills, Ill.), senior Reece Chamberlain would score an acrobatic layin to push the Bruin lead to 35-25.

On the final possession of the half, senior Spencer Turner (Bloomington, Ind.) set up sophomore Evan Bradds (Jamestown, Ohio) for a reverse layin as Belmont took a 43-32 lead at halftime.

Belmont shot 43 percent (13-for-30) from the field in the opening 20 minutes - including 6-for-18 from three-point distance. The Bruins forced 10 first half turnovers.

The Bruins would score 19 of the first 25 points of the second half to break the game open, riding the red-hot shooting of Barnette.

The Lexington, Ky, native would make four three-point field goals in the first 3:22 of the second half, giving Belmont a 60-38 advantage.

Bradds and Bradshaw would continue to provide consistent production, as the Bruins found the range from all angles.

A three-pointer from Smith, and baskets from freshman Mack Mercer (Plymouth, Ind.) and Barnette pushed the lead to 95-66 with 4:09 remaining.

The Bruins played all 15 roster members, with freshman Austin Luke (Rowlett, Texas) scoring his first career point.

All told, Belmont shot 53 percent (32-for-61) from the field - including 15-for-33 from three-point distance. The Bruins had 21 assists on 32 made field goals.

Barnette led five Bruins in double figures with a career-high 27 points. Smith scored a career-high 17 points, while Bradds added 12. Chamberlain had 11 points, nine assists, six rebounds and three steals. Bradshaw scored 10.

Palm led Trevecca with 17 points.

Belmont (2-1) returns to game action Saturday, Nov. 22 at Western Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT.

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 on Twitter @BelmontMBB.

NOTES: Belmont has won 56 of its last 58 home games (NCAA best) ... Mercer and Luke scored their first career points, while Tyler Hadden scored his first career field goal ... Bradshaw has scored in double figures in 32 of his last 38 games ... Chamberlain was one assist away from his second double-double in three games ... Belmont set a new record for 'First on the Floor' participation.