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OVC Men's Basketball Honors

OVC Men's Basketball Honors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball was recognized as part of the 2018-19 Ohio Valley Conference Men's Basketball Honors, the league office announced Tuesday.

Seniors Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.), and freshman Nick Muszynski (Pickerington, Ohio) were named All-OVC First Team.

Muszynski was also named OVC Freshman of the Year and OVC All-Newcomer Team, and head coach Rick Byrd was named OVC Coach of the Year.

"It is quite an honor for three Belmont players to be chosen to the All-Ohio Valley Conference team this season," Byrd said. "Dylan has enjoyed as fine a season as any player in our NCAA Division I era. Kevin has emerged as a difference maker on both ends of the floor, and Nick has given our team a consistent inside presence to complement our perimeter game. Congratulations to all three for their recognition and I am sure that each of them would give much of the credit to their teammates for these awards."

Windler cemented his place among the most complete players in college basketball. Among national leaders in defensive rebounding and double-doubles, the 6-8 guard/forward is the only player in America averaging at least 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. 26 of Windler's 71 career double figure scoring games have come this season to date, including seven double-doubles with 30 or more points. Windler averaged 23.0 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in league play on 58 percent shooting, highlighted by his 41-point performance at Morehead State (2/9/19). The Indianapolis native ranks among OVC leaders in 10 statistical categories, including third in points per game (21.1) and first in rebounding (10.3) - a category he has led two straight seasons.

Windler, whose offensive efficiency rating (126.5) per Ken Pomeroy ranks third nationally behind Duke's Zion Williamson and Furman's Matt Rafferty, is a finalist for the Julius Erving Award, Lou Henson Award and Senior CLASS Award. He joins Craig Bradshaw, Evan Bradds and Austin Luke as one of four Belmont players to earn First Team All-OVC honors in consecutive seasons.

McClain showcased his skills and all-court versatility to stand among the top two-way perimeter players in the nation. The 6-3 guard recorded 26 double figure scoring games, including 15 consecutive to close the regular season. McClain delivered in the biggest of situations, most notably his game-high 20 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals - and game-winning shot with 2.3 seconds remaining - in Belmont's victory at UCLA. He also had 27 points at Southeast Missouri March 2 as Belmont secured its fifth OVC regular season championship in seven years. The Jennings, Florida native, who twice earned OVC Player of the Week honors, averaged 18.0 points, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game in OVC play.

Muszynski developed into a formidable post presence offensively, and defensively, for Belmont, ranking as one of the most efficient freshmen in the nation. The 6-11 center tallied 23 double figure scoring games, including a career-high 27 point performance vs. Southeast Missouri (1/31/19). He also recorded 20 points, six assists and three blocked shots at Murray State (1/24/19). Muszynski leads the OVC and ranks among national leaders in field goal percentage (.611) and blocked shots per game (2.21). In addition, Muszynski registered 16 games of three or more assists, and his 78 assists from the post are surpassed only by Wisconsin All-America candidate Ethan Happ. He was named OVC Freshman of the Week a league-high six times.

This marks the third time that three Bruins were named first team all-conference in the same season (2012: Clark, Johnson, Hanlen; 2018: Windler, Egekeze, Luke).

Byrd led Belmont to 10th regular season conference championship in the last 14 years; only Gonzaga and Kansas have won more over that span. The Bruins have earned an NCAA-best 12 true road wins and have received national Top 25 poll votes eight of the last nine seasons. In fact, Belmont has earned five wins over programs earning national Top 25 poll votes this season.

Belmont ranks among national leaders in numerous statistical categories, including first in assists per game (20.1), second in scoring offense (88.3), second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.71), fifth in field goal percentage (.504) and fifth in offensive efficiency. Belmont matched the 2010-11 Bruins for best record through 29 games in the NCAA Division I era. Belmont was one of only two NCAA Division I programs to go undefeated in the month of November while recording at least three true road victories (Furman).

Byrd earned career victory No. 800 vs. Eastern Illinois (2/21/19), making him one of five active - and 12 all-time - NCAA Division I head coaches to reach 800 career victories. This marks the 14th time Byrd has been named District or Conference Coach of the Year, fourth since Belmont joined the Ohio Valley Conference in 2013 (2013, 2014, 2017, 2019).

Belmont (25-4) returns to game action Friday, March 8 in the semifinal round of the 2019 OVC Basketball Championship.

2018-19 All-OVC Men's Basketball Team 

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 17 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 14 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.