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Battle Tested

Battle Tested

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball rode a career-high 29 points from junior Craig Bradshaw (Ridgetop, Tenn.) and played through some unusually poor free throw shooting down the stretch to defeat Lipscomb, 82-77, Monday night.

Much like the meeting one week ago at Allen Arena - where Belmont scored 19 of the first 24 points - the Bruins roared out of the gates. Five different Bruins scored in the first four minutes as Belmont stormed out to a 17-3 lead.

But after an impassioned timeout from Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander, the visiting Bisons responded. Talbott Denny capped a quick 10-0 Lipscomb run that trimmed the margin to 17-14.

After three points from Bradshaw, a baseline three-pointer from Brett Wishon got the Bisons within 20-19 midway through the first half.

Both teams fought through foul trouble, with sophomore Evan Bradds' work inside enabling Belmont to keep a modest lead.

Malcolm Smith tied the score at 27 with 4:24 left in the half, before Belmont closed the half in fine fashion.

A three-pointer from junior Jeff Laidig (Mishawaka, Ind.) ignited the Bruins, who held Lipscomb scoreless the remainder of the half.

An offensive rebound basket from senior Reece Chamberlain (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) capped the 14-0 Belmont run and gave the Bruins a 41-27 halftime lead.

Belmont shot 48 percent (14-for-29) from the field in the opening 20 minutes - including 5-for-14 from three-point distance. The Bruins forced 11 Bisons turnovers in the first half.

A short jumper from Barnette pushed the margin to 44-29 with 19:02 remaining. Bradshaw would pick up his third personal foul moments later, halting a bit of Bruin momentum.

After a teardrop from J.C. Hampton, consecutive three-pointers from Martin Smith and Nathan Moran got the Bisons within 49-45 with 13:31 left.

Chamberlain answered with a layin off a nice Bradds feed.

Yet Lipscomb rode strong play from Martin and Malcolm Smith to get within 52-50 with 12:08 left.

But from there, Bradshaw went on an offensive tear, scoring 14 points in a two and a half minute span midway through the second half to push Belmont to a double figure lead.

Chamberlain sank a timely three-pointer off a pass from senior Holden Mobley (Nashville, Tenn.) to increase the lead to 70-59 with 6:50 to go.

In fact, the Bruins led 74-61 with 3:53 left on a driving basket from sophomore Caleb Chowbay (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.).

However, a string of head-scratching free throw shooting and Bison baskets kept Belmont from slamming the door.

After four misses from the charity stripe, two free throws from Malcolm Smith got Lipscomb withiin 74-70 with 1:52 left.

On Belmont's next possession, Bradds delivered a basket in the paint to extend the lead back to six.

But a defensive stop, two more missed free throws and a second chance three-pointer from Josh Williams got Lipscomb back within 76-73 with 48 seconds left.

After one Bradshaw free throw, Hampton sank a short jumper to make the score 77-75 with 29 seconds remaining.

From there, Mobley and Bradshaw would make five of six free throws in the final 18 seconds to secure the victory.

All told, Belmont shot 56 percent (27-for-48) from the field - including 11-for-22 from three-point distance. The Bruins claimed 10 steals and outrebounded Lipscomb, 37-35.

Bradshaw would lead four Bruins in double figures with 29 points, five rebounds and four assists. Chamberlain had another tremendous all-around game, with 13 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and five steals. Bradds also scored 13 points while Barnette added 10.

Martin and Malcolm Smith each scored 21 for Lipscomb.

Belmont (4-1) returns to action Wednesday, Nov. 26 versus Denver. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CT from the Curb Event Center. 

The game will be broadcast live on the OVC Digital Network. 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 seven consecutive games against Lipscomb ... Amanze Egekeze had a career-high six rebounds and two blocked shots ... Bradshaw has scored in double figures in 34 of his last 40 games ... Belmont missed 17 free throws, the most since missing 19 at Lipscomb to open the 2013-14 season ... Chamberlain tallied his second double-double of the season and third of his career.