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Total Team Effort

Total Team Effort

MURRAY, Ky. - - Behind balanced offense and unified team defense, Belmont University men's basketball defeated [rv/rv] Murray State, 79-66, Thursday night.

Senior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.) led Belmont with 23 points and four assists while freshman Nick Muszynski (Pickerington, Ohio) had 20 points, six assists, and three blocked shots.

Belmont held Murray State scoreless for a near nine-minute stretch, building an 18-6 lead midway through the first half on a Muszynski score.

And though the Racers would score the next eight points, Belmont demonstrated poise and execution to keep the CFSB Center record crowd at bay.

A transition basket from freshman Grayson Murphy (Franklin, Tenn.) and an interior score from freshman Caleb Hollander (Nashville, Tenn.) increased the Belmont lead to 32-21.

Belmont led 33-26 at halftime.

The Bruins limited Murray State to 8-for-32 shooting in the first half, and only two field goals from two-point range in one of the program's top defensive halves in recent memory.

Muszynski continued his efficient evening, delivering three baskets and assisting on a fourth in the first three minutes of the second half.

Murray State got within four points on seven occasions in the second half, but Belmont had a response every time.

Senior All-America candidate Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) buried a 3-pointer to push the margin to seven, before consecutive 3-pointers from sophomore Nick Hopkins (Fayetteville, Tenn.) and McClain gave Belmont a 57-47 lead with 10:01 remaining.

McClain would score 11 points in the final 10 minutes, several strong finishes at the rim as the Bruins managed time and score.

Another Hopkins wing 3-pointer made the score 70-56 with 4:51 left.

All told, Belmont shot 53 percent from the field, including 64 percent in the second half.

The Bruins had 20 assists on 33 made field goals.

Belmont limited Murray State to a season-low 32 percent shooting from the field.

Ja Morant led Murray State (15-3, 6-1 OVC) with 20 points on 5-for-19 shooting.

Belmont (14-4, 5-2 OVC) returns to game action Saturday, Jan. 26 at Austin Peay. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ 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.

NOTES: Belmont has won seven of the 10 meetings with Murray State in OVC play ... Belmont has won two consecutive games at the CFSB Center ... Murray State had won 19 consecutive OVC games (including tournament), with the start and end of the streaks coming in setbacks to Belmont (at Belmont, 79-72, 1/18/18; at Murray State, 79-66, 1/24/19) ... McClain has scored 20 or more points in six of his last 10 games ... McClain has 998 career points ... Muszynski has scored 20 or more points in five of his last five games ... Muszynski tied a career-high with six assists ... Hopkins has scored in double figures in three straight games ... Belmont has two victories this season at teams receiving Top 25 votes (at UCLA, at Murray State).