Clark returns to action, leads Belmont to A-Sun title game

Friday, March 2, 2012 at 10:49pm
Staff reports

Ian Clark scored 19 points and had four rebounds and four assists as Belmont advanced to the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament championship game with a 69-61 victory over East Tennessee State on Friday at Macon, Ga.

Clark sat out the Bruins’ quarterfinal victory with an abdominal strain but scored his team’s first six points and nine of the first 13. He made seven of 12 shots from the field and led all scorers.

Belmont (26-7) held ETSU (17-14) scoreless for the first 4:33 of the second half and made 14 of 24 field goals attempts (58 percent), including seven of 12 3-pointers after halftime after having trailed for most of the first 20 minutes.

J.J. Mann’s 3-pointer made it 33-31 with 17:57 to play and put the Bruins ahead to stay. The lead grew to as many as 12 points, 54-42, following a jump shot by Clark with 8:45 left.

Kerron Johnson (12 points) was the only other Belmont player in double figures. Johnson and Drew Hanlen (nine points) each added four assists. As a team, the Bruins had 14 assists and just nine turnovers.

Adam Sollazzo scored 16 points, and Tommy Hubbard and Marcus Dubose added 15 each for ETSU.

Belmont faces Florida Gulf Coast (15-16), which upset host Mercer, in the championship game, 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).