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Hofstra (2-3) vs. Belmont (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 24, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mohegan Sun Arena (10,000) -- Uncasville, Connecticut. Television: None. Home Record: Hofstra 1-1, Belmont 2-0. Away Record: Hofstra 0-2, Belmont 2-1. Neutral Record: Hofstra 1-0, Belmont 1-0. Conference Record: Hofstra 0-0, Belmont 0-0. Series Record: Hofstra leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Belmont Bruins try to run their win streak to five in a row tonight as they tangle with the Hofstra Pride in the final round of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip Off at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Since losing to Richmond back on Nov. 11 as part of this event, 69-61, the Bruins have rattled off four straight victories, one of those coming against nationally-ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 83-80. More recently the program took down Holy Cross in this venue on Saturday, 81-70.
As for the Pride, they too picked up a win in the event yesterday, posting an 81-78 final versus Hartford, but that was only after losing to both the Spiders and Louisville on the road.
According to Belmont sources, this is the third meeting all-time between the programs, with Hofstra posting a 78-68 win in the most recent encounter in 1999 to move to 2-0 over the Bruins.
Hofstra outscored the Hawks by a 31-11 margin at the free-throw line on Saturday, but at the same time the Pride made only 4-of-14 shots behind the 3- point line, yet that was still good enough to come away with the victory. Dion Nesmith led all scorers with 27 points, Zeke Upshaw pitched in with 12 and reserves Darren Payne and Stephen Nwaukoni responded with 10 points each, the latter also clearing a game-high nine rebounds.
Upshaw, who erupted for 37 points in the overtime loss to Richmond, leads the team in scoring overall with 19.0 ppg, followed by Nesmith with his 15.4 ppg. Of the unit's 34 made baskets behind the 3-point line, all but 13 have come from the aforementioned pairing. Defensively, Hofstra is being touched for a hefty 79.0 ppg.
Belmont wasted little time in taking over against the Crusaders yesterday, shooting 62.1 percent from the floor in the first half, including 54.5 percent beyond the arc. Eventually the Bruins made good on 56.9 percent from the field and 9-of-17 on the perimeter in the double-digit victory. Craig Bradshaw led four starters in double figures with his game-high 21 points, followed by Reece Chamberlain with 17, JJ Mann 16 points and Blake Jenkins 12, to go along with eight rebounds.
Mann is leading the Bruins in scoring with 18.2 ppg, shooting an impressive 90.3 percent at the free-throw line, but only 11-of-44 (.250) out on the perimeter. Mann might be wise to remain in the paint anyway, seeing as how he is first on the team with 6.0 rpg. Drew Windler (13.5 ppg), Chamberlain (11.8 ppg) and Bradshaw (11.5 ppg) all have a major role in the team's 83.7 ppg in the early going.
With so many scoring options to turn to again this season, this is probably the perfect time for the Bruins to finally break through against Hofstra and finish off this tournament on a positive note.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Belmont 82, Hofstra 71
11/24 10:33:41 ET
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