The Belmont men’s basketball team made sure to schedule plenty of NCAA Tournament-level opponents this season to ensure they were battle tested for the postseason.
After falling in the season opener to Ohio, the Bruins came back from a seven-point deficit after trailing the final 13-plus minutes to take a 92-89 win over Furman Monday night at the Curb Event Center.
“That was one heck of a game,” Belmont coach Casey Alexander said. “Of course, anybody that saw that — I’m totally exhausted — I can’t imagine when the adrenaline leaves what everyone’s going to feel like.
“The big plays that were made throughout, high-level plays that were made as well, and what our guys did down the stretch to get it into overtime and really never look back. It’s so often the case that the team that’s coming back and sends it to overtime, they let their guard down and all of a sudden, they’re down six again. But give our guys a lot of credit for getting off to a good start [in OT] and playing the way they did.”
In the win, preseason Oho Valley Conference Co-Player of the Year Grayson Murphy reached a notable career milestone.
With 3:58 left in the second half, the Franklin native and Independence High School alum hit a layup that pulled Belmont to within 71-67 that pushed him over the 1,000-point plateau for his career. Murphy is already Belmont’s career leader in steals, steals per game and assists per game. He also holds Belmont single-season records for steals and shooting percentage.
Murphy finished with 17 points, seven steals, five rebounds and five assists. Luke Smith paced the Bruins with 20 points, while Nick Muszynski added 17, Will Richard and Jacobi Wood tallied 13 points, and Ben Sheppard added 10.
Belmont (2-1) has two road games against Kennesaw State (Friday) and LSU (Monday) before heading to Kissimmee, Florida to compete in the ESPN Events Invitational. The Bruins open the tournament with Drake on Nov. 25.
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