NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Behind 31 points and 13 rebounds from senior All-America candidate Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.), Belmont University men's basketball defeated Tennessee State, 77-66, Thursday.
Windler tallied his 31st career double-double (sixth consecutive) and sixth this year with 30 or more points.
Behind the all-court game of freshman Grayson Murphy (Franklin, Tenn.) and strong defense, Belmont raced out to a 25-10 lead midway through the first half.
Tennessee State took its first lead of the game, 47-46, on a Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey jumper with 14:14 remaining.
Belmont battled through foul trouble and an uncharacteristic cold shooting night from 3-point distance, with Murphy and senior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.) helping Belmont regain the lead.
But it was Windler down the stretch, as he scored 17 points in the final 9:31 of regulation.
His 3-pointer with 1:26 left gave Belmont a 74-66 lead.
Belmont outrebounded Tennessee State, 40-30, and forced 14 Tiger turnovers.
Fitzpatrick-Dorsey led Tennessee State (8-17, 5-8 OVC) with 19 points.
The Bruins equal the 2010-11 season in fastest to 20 wins for the program's NCAA Division I era.
Belmont (20-4, 11-2 OVC), which remains tied atop the OVC standings, returns to game action Saturday, Feb. 16 at Tennessee Tech.
NOTES: Belmont has won 18 of the last 21 meetings with Tennessee State ... Belmont has won 20 or more games in nine consecutive seasons ... Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games each of the last 14 seasons (Belmont, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, North Carolina; BYU, Louisville and San Diego State have a chance to join the group) ... Benkert and Kunkel led Belmont's 14 points off the bench ... Belmont outscored Tennessee State, 40-26, in points in the paint ... Belmont is 9-3 in true road games this season ... Murphy added four steals.