Winthrop (2-2) vs. Belmont (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 23rd, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lawrence Joel Coliseum (14,665) -- Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Winthrop 1-0, Belmont 0-0. Away Record: Winthrop 1-0, Belmont 0-1. Neutral Record: Winthrop 0-2, Belmont 2-0. Conference Record: Winthrop 0-0, Belmont 0-0. Series Record: Belmont leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: After knocking off Wake Forest on Monday, the Winthrop Eagles are soaring high and will look to continue their strong play this afternoon when they battle the Belmont Bruins in the consolation round of the NIT Season Tip- Off at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
It was an impressive victory for the Eagles, who scored 83 points against the Demon Deacons on their home floor. The victory snapped a two-game slide for Winthrop and gave coach Randy Peele his 100th victory as a head coach at the collegiate level. After this matchup the Eagles will fly home to host Lander University.
As for the Bruins, they began their season with a tough nine-point loss on the road to Tennessee, but the team wasted little time bouncing back, following the setback with two straight wins over Arkansas State (93-60) and last night against Marist (102-74). Belmont will play Tennessee State on the road after this tournament and will not host its first game of the season until December 2nd when Mercer comes to town.
In terms of the all-time series between the two schools, the Bruins own a small 2-0 edge over Winthrop.
The Eagles had no trouble finding ways to score against Wake Forest, as coach Peele's team shot 51.6 percent from the field in the first and second half, and surprisingly had its way with the Demon Deacons throughout the matchup. Robbie Dreher led the way for Winthrop with 20 points off the bench, but the biggest key to the team's success was the all-around effort put forth by Reggie Middleton. The veteran guard scored 19 points, to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists. Middleton, who came into the game averaging 11.3 ppg, was joined by Andre Jones and Matt Morgan, as they finished with 15 and 10 points, respectively. George Valentine, who also entered the matchup posting 11.3 ppg, had his worst showing on the year, netting just six points, to go along with seven rebounds.
The Bruins opened their game against Marist with a 21-5 run and never looked back, as they had their way with the Red Foxes for 40 minutes. Belmont, which eventually won by 28 points, shot 54.1 percent in the contest and also connected on 27-of-33 attempts from behind the arc. Scott Saunders was one of five players in double-figures, as the forward came off the bench to post 24 points and pull down six caroms. Clark, who is leading the team with 16.0 ppg on the year, added 12 points, while JJ Mann also tallied 12 points. Mick Hedgepeth and Jon House both contributed 11 points apiece in the victory, while Hedgepeth collected six boards. Hedgepeth has been the main source of production in the paint, as the big man is posting 11.7 ppg, to go along with a team-best 5.7 rpg.
Winthrop's performance against Wake Forest was outstanding, but usually after winning a matchup of that magnitude it is followed by a letdown. Coach Peele should have his players ready, but the Bruins should not be taken lightly because they are also playing very well at this moment.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Belmont 77, Winthrop 73
11/23 10:53:41 ET