Nashville, Tenn. - Freshman Corey Walden (Ormond Beach, Fla.) put up his second highest point total of the season with 19 points yet it wasn't enough to propel Stetson (6-17, 4-8 A-Sun) to a win over the Atlantic Sun Conference's top team. Belmont (20-4, 12-1 A-Sun) completed a season sweep of Stetson with an 82-64 victory at home in Nashville. Ridge Graham (Stuart, Fla.) and Joel Naburgs (Victoria, Australia) also hit double-figures for the Hatters with 15 and 10 points respectively.
Walden had it going against the Bruins hitting 6-of-9 from the floor, 3-for-5 from long range and 4-for-4 from the line before fouling out with 6:50 remaining in the game.
Stetson came out strong and ready to challenge Belmont in the first half. A Ridge Graham 3-pointer at 14:52 gave the Hatters a 12-7 lead and then after a Bruin answer Steve Forbes (Clermont, Fla.) made a layup to get the lead back to five points. For the next several minutes the teams played close to even. Luis Jacobo (Sanford, Fla.) drove to the basket for a layup at 9:31 and Stetson led 18-17. With 6:30 remaining in the half Ian Clark scored a layup that gave the Bruins a one-point advantage. It was a lead they would not relinquish. Belmont finished the half with a 22-7 run and went into the locker room up 41-25.
Although Belmont was able to push its lead to as many as 26 points in the second half, Stetson fought back and ended up keeping the second period even and eventually fell by 18 points.
Overall Stetson shot well in the game knocking down 20-of-41 for 49% from the field. One key statistic in the game was Belmont's ability to deliver on 3-point attempts. The Bruins hit 13 treys compared to just five for the Hatters. Belmont was also able to take advantage of Stetson's 18 turnovers with 24 points off those miscues.
With seven rebounds Forbes led the Hatters under the glass for the third consecutive game and the sixth time in the past seven. He also equaled his career-high of two blocked shots. Naburgs was next for the Hatters with six boards.
Next up the Hatters return home to host USC Upstate and ETSU this weekend. Stetson will take on Upstate Friday, February 4 at 7:00 p.m. the Game will be televised on Comcast Sports South. Stetson fans can also catch the game on to Hatter Vision. Be sure to follow the Hatters on Twitter at @StetsonSID, on Facebook at Stetson Athletics, and check out the Stetson Hatters channel onYouTube.