Nashville, TN-One of the best basketball games this year occurred in Nashville last night and it was not a power 5 conference game. Instead it was Eastern Kentucky and Belmont from the Ohio Valley Conference Semifinals. Hot first half shooting, stifling second half defense and a shot to win the game to advance to the OVC title game.
The game was a defensive struggle but EKU had a chance to win but Corey Walden’s floater missed and Belmont ended up with a 53-52 victory.
The Colonels (19-11) were trying to be the first team to win back 2 back OVC tourney titles since Murray State in 1999.
The Colonels led most of the game and at one point went up 10 points in the first half behind Senior Eric Stultz 14 points and the team shooting 63.6% in the opening period to take a 33-26 lead into intermission.
Belmont (21-0) didn’t go away like EKU’s hot shooting. With 9:52 remaining Belmont knotted the score at 46. EKU went cold from the field and Stultz only scored 4 in the last 20 minutes of play.
EKU was held to only one field goal Down the stretch but a big one by senior Timmy Knipp that gave EKU a 52-51 lead with 2:25 remaining.
Belmont retook the lead with two free throws by Evan Bradds with 25 seconds remaining setting up Walden’s missed floater.
Belmont was led by Taylor Barnette’s 14 points (4-7 3pt FG) and Eric Stultz poured in 18 for the colonels. Corey Walden was the only other Colonel to score double digits with 12.
The Bruins advanced to the OVC championship versus Murray state for an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament. The game will be televised at 7pm EST on ESPN2.