Belmont is OVC's best this season, will face one of college hoops' best next season

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 1:26pm
Staff reports

Blake Jenkins had 17 points and 11 rebounds as Belmont clinched the No. 1 seed in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament with a 73-43 victory over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Wednesday at Curb Events Center.

Jenkins made a 3-pointer and had a dunk as the Bruins (23-6, 13-2 in the OVC) scored nine of the game’s first 12 points and led from start to finished. He then scored their first four second-half points en route to his fourth career double-double.

Belmont has now won four straight regular-season championships. The previous three were in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Ian Clark added 14 points, and Trevor Noack and J.J. Mann scored 13 and 11, respectively.

SIUE (9-17, 5-10) got a game-high 19 points from Kris Davis.

Earlier in the day Belmont announced it would take part in the 2013 Tip-Off Tournament, which would include the opportunity to play North Carolina.

The event, hosted by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, begins with games at campus sites and concludes at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Ct.

The Bruins’ second contest will be against the Tar Heels, Nov. 17 at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. They also will play at Richmond (Nov. 11) before they face Holy Cross and either Hartford or Hofstra. The final two games, Nov. 23 and 24, will be on the neutral floor.

"We appreciate being invited to participate in the 2013 Hall of Fame Tip Off, and our entire program looks forward to exciting competition and lifetime memories," Belmont head coach Rick Byrd said. "We are grateful to take part in one of the premier events in college basketball — one linked to the history of the game."

Louisville and Farifield also are in the eight-team field.