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OVC Championship Preview

OVC Championship Preview

EVANSVILLE, Ind. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to game action Saturday vs. Murray State in the 2019 OVC Championship.

Belmont defeated Austin Peay, 83-67, in the semifinal round. Senior All-America candidate Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) had 32 points and a career-high 21 rebounds for Belmont. The 6-8 guard/forward has 34 career double-doubles, eight coming this season with 30 or more points. Windler is the only player in America averaging at least 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

Senior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.) like Windler was named All-OVC First Team Tuesday. The 6-3 guard scored 20 points vs. Austin Peay Friday. The Jennings, Florida native has 61 career double figure scoring games, including 16 consecutive games. McClain scored a career-high 31 points vs. Southeast Missouri Jan. 31.

Freshman Nick Muszynski (Pickerington, Ohio) was named All-OVC First Team, OVC Freshman of the Year and OVC All-Newcomer Team Tuesday. The 6-11 center has 24 double figure scoring games this season, and ranks among national leaders in field goal percentage, blocked shots per game and assists from the post position.

McClain and Muszynski combined to score 43 points on 19-for-31 shooting, and added 10 assists in Belmont's 79-66 victory at Murray State earlier this season (1/24/19).

Belmont is 7-2 lifetime in conference tournament championship games, having won its first six championship games, including five as member of the Atlantic Sun Conference (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012). The Bruins also won the 2013 OVC Championship (def. Murray State 70-68 ot) and 2015 OVC Championship (def. No. 24 Murray State 88-87).

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 Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Israel.

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's shot was named ESPN/Capital One Impact Performance of Championship Week and was an ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 play for March.

Belmont Director of Basketball Operations 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.

This marks the 16th meeting between Belmont and Murray State. Belmont has won seven of the 10 meetings in OVC play, including 79-66 earlier this season.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT from the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and the ESPN app, as well as nationally on Westwood One Radio. 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 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.