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SEMO Game Preview

SEMO Game Preview

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to game action Thursday vs. Southeast Missouri.

The Bruins completed one of their most impressive conference road weekends of the NCAA Division I era, earning victories at [rv/rv] Murray State and Austin Peay. Belmont was named NABC National Team of the Week Tuesday.

Senior All-America candidate Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) had a game-high 33 points and 12 rebounds in the victory at Austin Peay Jan. 26. The 6-8 guard/forward scored 20 consecutive points during an electrifying six-minute stretch of the second half as he willed Belmont to victory. Windler has four double-doubles of 30-plus points this season. He ranks among OVC leaders in 10 statistical categories, including first in rebounds per game (9.6) and third in points per game (18.9).

Senior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.) has enjoyed a consistent and productive campaign. The 6-3 guard earned his second OVC Player of Week honor Monday after averaging 19.5 points and 3.0 assists per game last week. McClain scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half at [rv/rv] Murray State and led a defensive effort that held the Racers to a season-low 32 percent shooting. The Jennings, Florida native had 16 points at Austin Peay, becoming the 19th member of Belmont's NCAA Division I era 1,000 Point Club. He is averaging 17.6 points and 4.7 assists per game over his last 11 games.

Freshman Grayson Murphy (Franklin, Tenn.) recorded 17 points and 15 assists at Austin Peay. Murphy's 15 assists set an NCAA Division I era single-game record. The 6-2 guard has five games of eight-plus assists and three double-doubles this season.

Freshman Nick Muszynski (Pickerington, Ohio) has provided a quality interior presence on both ends of the floor for Belmont. The 6-11 center had 20 points, six assists and three blocked shots in the victory at [rv/rv] Murray State, and made the game-clinching free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining at Austin Peay. Muszynski leads the OVC and ranks 14th nationally in blocked shots per game (2.47).

Sophomore Nick Hopkins (Fayetteville, Tenn.) has scored nine or more points in six consecutive games, which included his first career start vs. Tennessee State (1/19/19). Hopkins had 13 points and a career-high seven rebounds at Austin Peay, including a decisive 3-pointer with 59 seconds remaining.

Belmont ranks fourth nationally in assists per game (19.5); the Bruins handed out a total of 45 assists in their two victories this past week.

Former Belmont All-American Ian Clark ('13) and former Southeast Missouri standout Antonius Cleveland each spent time with the Golden State Warriors organization. Clark was a member of the 2017 NBA Champion Warriors while Cleveland was signed by Golden State and plays for the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors. Clark is currently a member of the New Orleans Pelicans while Cleveland appeared in 17 games for the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks last season.

Clark and Trevor Noack ('13) each scored 30 points in the game six seasons ago at the Curb Event Center - becoming the first teammates in the nation to score 30 or more points in the 2012-13 campaign.

Amanze Egekeze ('18) went 7-for-7 from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point distance, and 4-for-4 from the free throw line in his 21-point effort vs. Southeast Missouri last season. Egekeze became the first Bruin to go perfect from the field (min. seven FGA) and free throw line in a game since Evan Bradds in his final game at the Curb Event Center (vs. Tennessee State, 2/25/17).

This marks the seventh meeting between Belmont and Southeast Missouri.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT from the Curb Event Center. 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.

Southeast Missouri at Belmont 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.