NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team handed Belmont its first home Ohio Valley Conference loss since it joined the league in 2012-13, upending the first-place Bruins, 88-78, on Saturday night, Feb. 6, at the Curb Event Center.
Belmont (17-8, 9-2 OVC) was 29-0 in OVC home games over the last four years, and the Bruins had won 35 consecutive home conference games dating back to their days in the Atlantic Sun. That streak was the longest of its type in the country.
Two nights after scoring a career-high 36 points, junior JaVontae Hawkins poured in a game high 24 points, while senior Jarelle Reischel contributed 20 points to lead the Colonels, led by first-year coach Dan McHale (pictured), to a near-wire-to-wire victory. EKU improved its record to 14-12 overall and 5-6 in OVC.
EKU trailed only once, 3-2, at the 18:34 mark of the first half. A three-pointer by Hawkins erased that deficit and sparked a 12-3 Colonel run that ended when sophomore Paul Jackson converted a layup to make it 14-6 with 13:46 on the clock.
The Colonels took their largest lead of the game, 25-12, when Reischel completed a three-point play at the 9:36 mark of the first half. Freshman Nick Mayo nearly had his third straight double-double, scoring eight points and grabbing nine rebounds. He also blocked three shots.
Bradshaw led Belmont with 20 points. Bradds – the OVC’s third-leading scorer (18.0 points-per-game) – was held to only eight points.
EKU shot 54 percent (31-of-57) from the field and 46 percent (10-of-22) from three-point range. The Colonels outscored the Bruins, 38-26, in the paint.
The Colonel defense stifled Belmont to 42 percent (27-of-65) shooting from the field and 33 percent (14-of-42) shooting from deep.
EKU stays on the road to face in-state rival Morehead State on Thursday, February 11, at 7:00 p.m.
EKU Athletics Photo