DeLand, Fla. – The game was Belmont at Stetson a battle between the A-Sun’s #1 offense (80.7 ppg) and the #1 defense (67.9 ppg), and tonight the offense won. Belmont took its first lead of the game (5-3) at 17:31 of the first half on a 3-pointer by Justin Hare. Although Stetson kept it close and was never out of the game, Belmont never relinquished its lead and went on for the 83-75 win.
After Stetson’s short-lived lead at 3-2, the Bruins slowly increased its advantage to 11 points on a jumper by Alex Renfroe with just six second remaining in the first half. Then, coming out of the locker room Belmont increased its lead to a game-high 15 points with a quick layup by Will Peeples and jump shot by Andy Wicke.
With 15:17 on the clock Stetson’s Mark Lohuis hit a 3-pointer reducing the lead to 11 points and energizing the home crowd of 1,816. A hustling Eric Diaz then went on to score the next seven points for the Hatters and brought his team within three points with 12:06 remaining. Twice Stetson dropped the lead to two points but that was as close as it could get.
Offensively, Stetson had as much trouble at its end of the court as Belmont had success. The Hatters shot 44% from the field yet missed easy layups and put-backs on several occasions. Garfield Blair, the team’s top scorer (16.3 ppg) and rebounder (6.2 rpg) was a bit off his game early. He shot 0-5 from the field in a frustrating first half before recovering with a 4-5 effort in the second. Half of his 16 points came from the line where he was 8-for-12. Under the glass he was only able to manage one rebound.
Starting center Tim Lang started the game red-hot hitting three shots in three attempts early in the first half. He used his size to dominate play inside the paint. A third Foul with 2:57 remaining in the half, however, kept him off the floor for much of the remaining game.
Stetson came into tonight’s game ranked 25th in the NCAA for home court winning streaks. The Hatters were riding a 10-0 record in the Edmunds Center dating back to last season. Tonights loss ended the streak and marked the team’s first loss in seven home games this season.
Stetson dropped to 10-12 overall and 5-3 in A-Sun play while Belmont improved to 14-8 and 6-2 in conference. The Hatters now hit the road to play Lipscomb Saturday in Nashville. The game can be heard on Hatter Vision Audio with Murray Miller and Harry Arnold calling the action. Subscribers can also see the games through an A-Sun TV feed on Hatter Vision. Remember, you can always bring up two windows allowing you to watch the game on A-Sun TV and listen to Murray and Harry on Hatter Vision.