MOREHEAD, Ky. -- The Morehead State men’s basketball team led for more than 36 minutes on Thursday night at Johnson Arena, but Belmont used an 11-2 game-ending run to escape with a 64-63 Ohio Valley Conference victory.
The Bruins improve to 16-4 overall, 7-0 in the conference and 6-3 on the road with their seventh straight win, while the Eagles slip to 10-11 on the season, 4-3 in league play and 7-3 at home. It was the first meeting between the two schools in men’s hoops.
Belmont’s only lead was at 2-0 until the 1:13 mark of the second half. That’s when junior J.J. Mann drilled a three from the right wing to give the Bruins a one-point advantage. MSU missed its final two shots of the evening and the visitors hung on for the victory.
Senior Ian Clark tallied a game-high 20 points for Belmont, while Mann added 11 points and five assists. Clark and senior Kerron Johnson handed out four assists apiece, while senior Trevor Noack collected a game-best three steals for the Bruins.
Junior Bakari Turner led four Morehead State players in double figures with 16 points for his fifth consecutive performance of 10+. Senior Milton Chavis contributed 12, while junior Chad Posthumus and sophomore Angelo Warner added 11 each.
Posthumus also pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds for his second Division I double-double. Senior Devon Atkinson and junior Drew Kelly shared team-high honors with three assists apiece, while junior Taariq Muhammad recorded two steals.
Belmont knocked down 62 percent (16-of-26) of its field-goal attempts in the second half en route to 50 percent (23-of-46) for the contest. The Bruins made 33 percent (7-of-21) from three-point range, including 50 percent (6-of-12) after intermission.
Morehead State drilled 44 percent (21-of-48) from the floor, but only 38 percent (9-of-24) in the second stanza. The Eagles connected on 37 percent (7-of-19) from long distance and 74 percent (14-of-19) from the free-throw line.
Morehead State posted a 36-21 rebounding advantage, including 11-3 on the offensive glass. The Eagles registered a 16-6 upper hand in second-chance points, but committed 20 turnovers which led to 10 steals and 17 points.
The affair featured just two ties and a pair of lead changes. Morehead State’s biggest lead of 14 points came with 2:39 left on the first-half clock. The Eagles turned in an 18-6 spurt to grab a 12-point lead just 10 minutes in.
Belmont’s largest advantage of two points came just 32 seconds in, but the Bruins chipped away at the deficit throughout the second half and converted on their last attempt from the floor to sneak away with the victory.
MSU wraps up its OVC home weekend on Saturday vs. Tennessee State. The contest will follow an MSU vs. TSU women’s game, which begins at 5:15 p.m. ET. Live video, audio and statistics will be available via MSUEagles.com.