NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Caleb Hollander had 18 points and eight rebounds as Belmont extended its winning streak to 20 games, narrowly beating Jacksonville State 63-59 on Thursday night.
The win gave Belmont a three-game lead over Morehead State in the Ohio Valley Conference with three games to go, assuring the Bruins at least a tie for their 12th regular-season title in the last 16 years.
Nick Muszynski had 16 points and three blocks for Belmont (23-1, 17-0). Grayson Murphy added nine points and nine rebounds.
Luke Smith, the Bruins’ second leading scorer (13.0 ppg) points per game, scored seven points in 1 of 9 shooting, 1of 8 from distance. Smith made four free throws in the last 13 seconds, each time extending the Bruins late lead to two possessions.
Belmont scored a season-low 22 first-half points as Jacksonville State led 27-22 at the break. The Gamecocks held a lead until Hollander hit a jumper, was fouled and converted the three-point play putting Belmont in front 55-53 with 3:26 remaining.
Darian Adams scored a career-high 24 points and had eight rebounds for the Gamecocks (14-8, 10-6), whose four-game win streak ended with the loss. Jalen Finch added nine points and seven assists.
Belmont defeated Jacksonville State 98-91 on Jan. 16.
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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com