The Byrd Cage

Belmont Beats Mercer With Bench

In Game Posts on February 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

Would the Bruins play it safe this game?


Many of us were wondering the same thing especially given Belmont’s shellacking of Kennesaw last Thursday.  It would only seem fitting given how well Byrd and co. have been playing lately to take their talents to Macon and lay it on thick to the struggling Bears, right?
Starting Lineup for the Bruins:

Ian Clark

Drew Hanlen

JJ Mann

Adam Barnes

Mick Hedgepeth

Take notice, NO Kerron Johnson and NO Blake Jenkins. So let’s recap, Belmont missing two of their starters in front of a sold out Mercer crowd AND playing a Mercer team that still has a bitter taste about the previous matchup.  This turns out to be not only a tough game but a close one as well. This one went down to the wire with a failed attempt at a last second floater in the paint by Mercer. Final score 62-61, Bruins win.

The Good
It’s always a positive to pull out a W, especially when two of your five starters are sitting on the bench for the game.  Although the team started off extremely slow, our boys never panicked and chipped away multiple leads and showed poise down the stretch when it counted. Well deserved shoutouts to both Ian Clark and Drew Hanlen for essentially playing the entire game in a hard fought contest.


On another note, as Keaton Belcher put it via Twitter, “REECE FREAKING CHAMBERLAIN!”  I had only heard the name in passing prior to this game and given I live in Atlanta; I rarely get to see bench players in action. Reece played exceptionally well and in my opinion was really the catalyst for the resurgence late in the second half. Solid effort by Reece including a tough foul call and some clutch free throws to put us up within the final minute of the game. Chamberlain finished the game solid all-around with nine points, three steals, two assists and three rebounds in twenty-one minutes of play.

The Bad
Inside Game.  It needs some work.  Some may agree, others may disagree, but our dynamic as a team is hindered when we are not effective down low. Saunders gave us ten points (4-5), four rebounds and three fouls. Hedgepeth contributed six points (2-9) and five boards.  Combined that’s sixteen points in the paint. For two seasoned veterans, there doesn’t seem to be much improvement over the course of the year in terms of offensive production.  If the fates allow it and Belmont get another chance to dance, the Bruins will get handled in the post unless they start playing aggressive on the offensive end.

All that being said, I was proud of our guys stepping up to the challenge and taking down the Bears in a tough rematch. Seems as if the Bruins are channeling a bit of momentum heading into Wednesday’s game against Jacksonville, hopefully Blake and Kerron will be ready to suit up.


Belmont plays Jacksonville on Wednesday at 2:30 EST in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament.



  1. Agreed Dunna,

    This Belmont team is best from the inside out, I think that is evident. Kerron’s ability to drive and score or drive and create layups and offensive rebound chances for the big guys is a huge piece of our inside game. Also Blake has flourished in that short corner role (also paint points production). So, I think the drop on inside scoring was largely a result of resting those 2 guys, especially Kerron.

    As you pointed out the level of play inside has to be better in order to cut down nets this weekend and win in the field of 64. Mick’s slump in play over the last 2 months and season as a whole is concerning. Mick is a hard worker and a great guy but his FG% is terrible, he is the worst FT shooter on the team, and he doesn’t seem to be making baskets through fouls at the same rate as 2009 & 2010. I really hope he can put together a confidence building effort this weekend that will be the caliber of his 2010 all-tournament effort.

    I’ll be seein everybody in Macon.

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