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Riding the Wave

Riding the Wave

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Behind 21 points from senior Amanze Egekeze (Lake in the Hills, Ill.), Belmont University men's basketball defeated Pepperdine, 79-62, Saturday afternoon.

The Bruins made a season-high 16 3-pointers, shooting 61 percent from the field in the second half.

Egekeze, fresh off a career-high 32-point performance in Wednesday's victory over Milwaukee, went over 1,000 career points in the victory.

3-pointers from Egekeze and freshman Nick Hopkins (Fayetteville, Tenn.) pushed Belmont to a 14-6 lead.

The Bruins limited the high-scoring Waves, entering scoring 77 points per game, to three field goals in the first nine and a half minutes.

After a basket from Darnell Dunn, 3-pointers from senior Austin Luke (Rowlett, Texas) and Egekeze increased the Belmont lead to 20-11 with 7:53 left in the half.

Belmont got meaningful bench contributions from Hopkins, sophomore Michael Benkert (Greenwood, Ind.) and freshman Grayson Murphy (Thompson's Station, Tenn.) in scoring nine of the final 13 points of the half in leading 37-26 at halftime.

Belmont shot 46 percent (13-for-28) from the field in the opening 20 minutes - including 9-for-21 from 3-point distance.

Luke led Belmont with 11 first half points.

Five quick points from junior Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) gave Belmont a 42-29 lead with 18:51 remaining.

Pepperdine closed within 46-37 on a Dunn basket, but the Bruins methodically turned defensive stops into high percentage shots and built a working margin.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Hopkins pushed the Bruin lead to 17, 58-41, with 10:50 left.

And despite weathering foul trouble to junior Mack Mercer (Plymouth, Ind.), eight different Bruins scored after halftime.

Egekeze capped an 11-2 Belmont run to make the score 76-52 with 3:23 to go.

All told, Belmont shot 54 percent (30-for-56) from the field - including 16-for-35 from 3-point distance.

Egekeze led four Bruins in double figures with 21 points. Luke added 16 points and seven assists. Windler and McClain each had 11.

Colbey Ross led Pepperdine (3-8) with 14 points.

Belmont (7-5) returns to game action Tuesday, Dec. 19 at Western Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on Fox College Sports. 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 via Twitter @BelmontMBB.

NOTES: Egekeze becomes the 17th member of Belmont's NCAA Division I era 1,000 point club ... He has 1,015 career points ... Luke had zero turnovers in 29 minutes ... Windler added six rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and two steals ... Hopkins has made multiple 3-pointers in seven games ... Murphy had four points, one rebound, one assist and one steal in his Belmont debut ... Belmont outrebounded Pepperdine, 26-19 ... Belmont is 96-7 in its last 103 home games.