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Murray State Game Preview

Murray State Game Preview

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to game action Thursday at [rv/rv] Murray State.

The Bruins (13-4) played one of their most complete offensive games in claiming a 92-74 victory over Tennessee State Jan. 19. Freshman Nick Muszynski (Pickerington, Ohio) had a career-high tying 23 points, five assists and four blocked shots for Belmont. The 6-11 center has been named OVC Freshman of the Week four times this season, leading the OVC in blocked shots per game (2.47) and ranking sixth in scoring (15.1).
Senior All-America candidate Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored 25 points vs. Tennessee State, eclipsing 1,300 points for his career. Windler ranks among OVC leaders in 10 statistical categories, including first in rebounding (9.3) and third in scoring (18.3). The 6-8 guard/forward, who has 25 career double-doubles, was the only player in America last season to average 17.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.5 apg and shoot 40 percent from 3-point distance.
Senior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.) continued his steady and consistent all-around game, providing 16 points and four assists vs. Tennessee State. McClain has 14 double figure scoring games this season, and is averaging 17.2 points and 5.1 assists per game over his last nine games. The 6-3 guard was a Preseason All-OVC selection.
The Belmont-Murray State series has quickly emerged as one of the most compelling and entertaining rivalries in college basketball. Seven of the nine meetings have been decided by nine points or fewer or had conference championship implications.
The Bruins and Racers enter play ranked top 20 nationally in scoring and top 5 nationally in assists per game.
The 2013 OVC co-Players of the Year - Ian Clark of Belmont and Isaiah Canaan of Murray State - have gone onto solid young careers in the NBA. Clark, a 2017 NBA Champion, currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans while Canaan plays for the Phoenix Suns.
Belmont assistant coach Tyler Holloway was a four-year letterwinner at Murray State from 2006-09. Holloway scored 1,083 career points, and played three seasons for former Murray State head coach Steve Prohm when Prohm served as an assistant coach to Billy Kennedy.
Former Belmont Director of Athletics Mike Strickland held the same position at Murray State from 1987-96. Strickland retired following the 2015-16 academic year.
This marks the 15th meeting between Belmont and Murray State. Belmont has won six of the nine meetings in OVC play.
In the 2013 OVC Championship at Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Kerron Johnson ('13) sank the game-tying and game-winning shots to lift Belmont over Murray State and into the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Johnson currently plays for Pistoia of Serie A in Italy.
In the 2015 OVC Championship at Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Taylor Barnette sank a three-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining to lift Belmont to a dramatic 88-87 victory over [25/24] Murray State to secure the Bruins' seventh NCAA Tournament berth in 10 years. Barnette currently serves as a graduate assistant on Chris Mack's staff at the University of Louisville.

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and the ESPN app. 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.

Belmont at Murray State Game Notes

Belmont University men's basketball has earned postseason invitations 12 of the last 13 seasons, including seven automatic berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins have won 16 conference championships since 2006 - third-most nationally over that span (Gonzaga, Kansas). Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs outside the Power 5 to post Top 100 RPIs eight consecutive seasons (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA), San Diego State, Wichita State). Belmont is one of only nine NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games 13 consecutive seasons (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, San Diego State). Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 16 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.