Belmont remains unbeaten, defeats Tennessee State 78-66 - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Belmont remains unbeaten, defeats Tennessee State 78-66

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Cross-town rivals Belmont and Tennessee State arrived at Curb Event Center Saturday night with impressive unblemished records inside the OVC.

But it was Belmont that came out sizzling, while the Tigers couldn't buy a bucket for much of the first half.

Weather forecasters are calling for another cold front to move in the Nashville area by Monday.

Little did they realize that it hit Tennessee State's basketball team first. The Tigers would have been better off building snowmen. They played much of the first half as they were wearing winter gloves.

The Tigers missed 13 of their first 14 shots allowing the Bruins to build a 22-3 lead on their way to a 78-66 win at Curb Event Center.

The biggest first half lead was 30-7 before TSU found the range late in the first half, slicing the margin to 13 points at intermission, 35-22.

"We took some quick shots and weren't not patient in our offense,'' said first year TSU coach Travis Williams. "But the guys hung in there. This is something that we'll learn from, especially knowing what to do in key situations. We got to get better.''

"They got out of what they were doing and started going one-on-one and two-on-two, but when they settled down it looked a lot of times like they were the better team,'' Byrd said.

TSU would not go away, however, the Tigers making runs of their own as they suffered their first loss inside the OVC and are now 6-1.

Belmont saw its lead cut twice to four points. Then, with the score 45-40 in the second half, they started raining 3s. They hit five treys in a row to build a 60-42 lead that held up.

Doing most of the damage during that run was Belmont guard Ian Clark. He hit the first trey, then concentrating on driving to the basket and kicking it out to teammates for open 3s. He was moved to the point guard position due to Kerron Johnson being in foul trouble.

"I'm always a pass first guy. I do shoot a lot, but at the same time, I love getting my teammates involved,'' said Clark, who finished with 22 points, six assists and four steals. He has 106 points in his last four games.

Jordan Cyphers led TSU with a game-high 23 points. He was seven of 10 from the 3-point line.

Byrd knows the road won't be easy. He now has home wins over Eastern Kentucky and TSU, but the road games present a strong challenge.

"We got two wins but we've got to go to Murray, we've got to go to Eastern and we have got to go to Tennessee State. It won't be easy,'' Byrd said.

Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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