KENNESAW, Ga. - - Belmont University men's basketball showcased balanced scoring and unified defense in defeating Kennesaw State, 91-53, Saturday.
The Bruins entered having eclipsed the century mark twice in their first four games, but a trademark fast start did not materialize.
A series of mysterious bounces and rim outs from close range halted momentum. After freshman Nick Muszynski (Pickerington, Ohio) tied the score at 15, a Bobby Parker basket gave Kennesaw State a 21-15 lead at the 9:53 mark.
In a game with contrasting tempo and styles of play, Belmont slowly used its defense the fuel transition opporunities.
Consecutive steals and scores from freshman Grayson Murphy (Thompson's Station, Tenn.) ignited the Bruins, who proceeded to hold the Owls without a field goal for the next six and a half minutes.
Seven different Bruins scored during a dazzling 22-1 run, with Belmont seizing a 41-24 lead at the 2:45 mark on another Muszynski basket.
Belmont led 45-31 at halftime.
Belmont shot 49 percent (18-for-37) from the field in the opening 20 minutes and forced nine Kennesaw State turnovers.
Senior Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) led Belmont with 10 first half points.
The Bruins broke the game open in the second half, as more efficient play and a flurry of 3-pointers from senior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.), freshman Caleb Hollander (Nashville, Tenn.) and junior Michael Benkert (Greenwood, Ind.) made the score 68-41 with 10:21 remaining.
Meanwhile, Belmont held Kennesaw State to 8-for-37 shooting in the second half.
All told, Belmont shot 51 percent (35-for-69) from the field - including 9-for-21 from 3-point distance.
Belmont outrebounded Kennesaw State, 53-35.
Six Belmont players scored in double figures, with senior All-America candidate Windler posting 14 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
McClain had 14 points and four assists, while junior Seth Adelsperger (Peru, Ind.) scored a career-high 13 points.
Muszynski and Murphy each had 13, and Hollander recorded his second double-double in the last three games with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Tyler Hooker led Kennesaw State (1-6) with 30 points.
Belmont (5-0) returns to game action Nov. 29 at Samford. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.
NOTES: Belmont has won 11 consecutive games vs. Kennesaw State ... Adelsperger's previous career-high was nine points vs. Trevecca Nazarene ... Belmont posted a season-high nine blocked shots ... Belmont's starting five all scored in double figures, as they did in the season-opening victory vs. Illinois State ... Hopkins has 24 points in his last two games.