Game #8-086: Belmont Bruins at Middle Tennessee Blue RaidersNovember 20, 2011 4:30 pm
Murphy Athletics Center
"History repeats itself."
According to wikianswers, this phrase comes from the sentiment of two quotes from different philosophers.
The first, by Spanish philosopher George Santayana, is: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat."
Then there's "Hegel remarks somewhere that history tends to repeat itself. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." Some guy named Marx wrote that one.
So, according to Marx, Belmont's 87-84 double overtime win at Middle Tennessee State on Sunday was a farce (a ludicrous, ridiculous display).
And by God, he was right.
MTSU - the largest public university in Tennessee - has had one of the best early season starts no one is talking about.
Part of that is because the Blue Raiders' most impressive win came in the wee hours of the morning in the middle and Eastern part of the country. MTSU traveled to UCLA - and stomped the previously-ranked Bruins on their home court.
(That being said, it's difficult to lose when you shoot 10-of-11 3-pointers and 70 percent from the field.)
The Blue Raiders' combination of inside muscle and outside range, with enough athleticism to go around, makes them a contender, if not front-runner, in the Sun Belt.
Belmont is in a different position. After a 30-win year, you don't sneak up on anyone. And the preseason prognosticators all penciled the Bruins in as a team to watch.
Oh yeah, and last year's game between the in-area rivals was a double OT slugfest at the Curb Event Center.
So all signs pointed to a battle.
The Bruins initiated their full-court press early and often - and jumped out to a quick 26-11 lead.
But MTSU stormed back - and trailed by one at halftime.
The Blue Raiders' crowd was mild, casually spreading themselves out among the comfy Murphy Center.
Unfortunately, MTSU is a large commuter school, which adversely affects their student involvement at games.
At a school of roughly 20,000, about 30 students gathered on metal bleachers behind one of the hoops. Their props of choice - large cut-out heads of pop culture figures like Snooki, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Kermit the Frog (an ode to their coach), and Charlie Sheen.
The second half was a battle. The Bruins found inspiration from the least-likely places: redshirt junior and former walk-on Adam Barnes, who saw few minutes last year, came up with some huge buckets. And freshman Spencer Turner knocked down a timely three.
Meanwhile, the Blue Raiders were bullying Belmont down low. JT Sulton got his dunk on a few times and MTSU got multiple second chances. Meanwhile, stable guards Raymond Cintron and Marcos Knight were knocking down triples left and right.
Tension grew as the clock wound down and a Knight 3-pointer gave MTSU a two-point lead with less than 90 seconds to go. But it didn't matter that Belmont star Ian Clark was on the bench with foul trouble most of the game. He calmly knocked down a corner three to put the Bruins back up with a minute to go.
After a few more exchanges, Belmont had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but the ball rimmed out.
The first overtime found Belmont's second big man fouling out early on, meaning the Bruins would be forced into small ball.
Point guard Kerron Johnson carried Belmont on his back in overtime 1, netting all seven of BU's points in five minutes. It was almost for-naught, had MTSU not come up empty on a chance with two seconds left.
The second overtime simply found Belmont scrapping the bottom of the barrel. MTSU cooled off - and sophomore JJ Mann came up large for Belmont.
The Bruins went up by 7 with 24 seconds left, before MTSU made a lay-up, got fouled, missed the free throw, and scored again. The Bruins couldn't convert on the free throw line and MTSU had a chance to tie it at the buzzer.
But the sentiments of Marx and Santayana hung in the air as the final shot was hoisted.
It was an air ball.
Belmont escaped with a double overtime win again.
|BELMONT 87, at MIDDLE TENNESSEE 84|
BELMONT 2-2 (0-0) -- D. Hanlen 3-8 2-4 8; J. Mann 8-13 0-1 19; K. Johnson 6-14 1-3 14; I. Clark 2-6 2-2 7; M. Hedgepeth 3-4 0-2 6; S. Saunders 3-8 2-3 8; B. Jenkins 3-4 0-0 6; T. Noack 1-5 0-0 3; A. Barnes 4-4 2-2 11; B. Baker 1-4 0-1 2; S. Turner 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 35-72 9-18 87.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE 4-1 (0-0) -- M. Knight 5-11 4-6 17; J. Sulton 5-10 3-6 13; B. Massey 2-5 2-5 7; L. Dendy 7-11 4-6 19; R. Cintron 6-10 1-1 18; K. Hammonds 0-1 0-0 0; S. Jones 2-5 0-4 4; J. Jones 2-4 2-2 6; J. Oden 0-1 0-0 0; J. Gallman 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 29-62 16-30 84.
Three-point goals: BELM 8-29 (B. Baker 0-3; A. Barnes 1-1; D. Hanlen 0-2; M. Hedgepeth 0-1; I. Clark 1-4; K. Johnson 1-4; T. Noack 1-5; J. Mann 3-7; S. Turner 1-2), MTSU 10-23 (J. Oden 0-1; L. Dendy 1-3; J. Gallman 0-2; K. Hammonds 0-1; B. Massey 1-1; M. Knight 3-6; R. Cintron 5-9); Rebounds: BELM 31 (J. Mann 6), MTSU 42 (M. Knight 11); Assists: BELM 10 (K. Johnson 4), MTSU 25 (B. Massey 8); Total Fouls -- BELM 27, MTSU 20; Fouled Out: BELM-M. Hedgepeth; MTSU-None.
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