Belmont's repeated attempts to hang in the second half weren't enough as the Belmont Bruins fell Monday night to the hometown Arizona State Sun Devils by a score of 83-74.
ASU threatened to pull away late despite tightly battling for the entirety of the night, going up 69-61 on a Kodi Justice 3-ball with 5:06 to go, but Belmont responded with a short run of its own. A Taylor Barnette 3-pointer, an Austin Luke jumper, and two Evan Bradds free throws brought it back to 69-68. But the Devils were able to scrap an effort together that put them at a 14-6 advantage the rest of the night.
Gerry Blakes posted an impressive 22 points and 8 boards while Andre Spight also contributed from the guard position with 15. Savon Goodman cleaned up on the glass with 13 points 12 rebounds as the Bruins held a 45-31 advantage on the boards.
Hard to believe it was only the second game in his college career, but Austin Luke paved the way for Belmont success in the first half with 13 points as the Bruins trailed just 36-32 at halftime in Wells Fargo Arena. Unfortunately his play was beset by particularly bad shooting from the usually hot-handed Bruins, as they shot 3-16 from behind the arc over the first 20 minutes. The Bruins shot 8-31 on the night compared to the Devils' 10-21 from 3-point land.
Luke finished with 17 points on the night to lead the Bruins. Belmont needed a big-time effort from its guards, and it received a decent-enough effort from Luke, but 12 points from Craig Bradshaw and 9 from Taylor Barnette proved not enough. Most folks would expect better from Bradshaw, whose 3-9 shooting night was noticeably poor, but a lot of that could be credit to Coach Bobby Hurley's squad focusing a lot of attention on the senior guard.
Big guys Evan Bradds (coming off an OVC Player of the Week performance) and Nick Smith combined for 22 points and 6 rebounds. Again, not enough.
'Twas a bit sloppy in Tempe on this evening, ASU gave the ball up to the Bruins 22 times while the Bruins turned it over 14 times themselves.