Simply Brilliant

Simply Brilliant

DUBLIN, Ireland - - Belmont University men's basketball concluded its foreign tour with a 101-62 victory over Swords Thunder Club Saturday.

Six days separated from convincing victories over Dagenham Dragons and Thames Valley Cavaliers in London, the Bruins continued to showcase their balanced scoring and depth.

Belmont, which buried 39 total three-pointers in its earlier wins, got off to a bit of a slow start. But after an early six-point deficit, the Bruins rode the strong play of senior All-America candidate Craig Bradshaw (Ridgetop, Tenn.) to close the first quarter on a 16-3 run.

Nice contributions from juniors Evan Bradds (Jamestown, Ohio) and Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.) stretched the Belmont lead to 52-35 at halftime.

Belmont showed off its young frontcourt in the second half as sophomores Amanze Egekeze (Lake in the Hills, Ill.) and Mack Mercer (Plymouth, Ind.) pushed the margin to as many as 33 points in the third quarter.

As the starters rested much of the fourth quarter, the Bruin freshmen closed well. Sophomore Josh Lester (Antioch, Tenn.) pushed Belmont over the century mark for the third straight game.

Bradshaw led five Bruins in double figures with 14 points. Bradds had 13, while freshman Kevin McClain (Jasper, Fla.) added 12. Mercer and Barnette each finished with 11 points.

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Belmont University men's basketball is one of only two NCAA Division I programs to earn seven automatic berths to the NCAA Tournament in the last 10 years (Gonzaga). The Bruins have won 14 conference championships since 2006 - third-most nationally over that span (Gonzaga, Kansas). Belmont is also one of only 10 non-Power 5 programs to post a Top 100 RPI each of the last five seasons. Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 12 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 and is one of only three NCAA Division I programs to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence.