Belmont (11-5, 4-0 A-Sun) used a 15-2 run over seven minutes late in the first half and got a game-high 19 points from Drew Hanlen, leading four Bruins in double figures for the win.
Jacksonville (2-12, 0-3 A-Sun) got a team-high 16 points from Aloys Cabell off the bench, but was unable to overcome a cold shooting first half. The Dolphins were 6-of-29 from the floor and just 1-of-7 in the opening half.
“The effort by our guys tonight was good,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We made a few mistakes there in the first half and Belmont is going to make you pay for those.”
The Dolphins out scored Belmont in the second half by three after trailing at halftime, 34-19, thanks to 14-of-26 shooting. Jacksonville fell behind by as many as 20 in the second half, but rallied to cut the deficit to 12 on a Cabell 3-pointer with 14:52 left and eventually down to 11 on a Glenn Powell dunk with 42 seconds remaining.
Belmont hit a season-low four 3-pointers, with Hanlen hitting all three attempts. The Bruins though made a living at the free throw line, hitting 31-of-42 at the stripe. The foul marred contest saw both teams combine for 47 fouls and 68 free throw attempts.
Jacksonville raced out early, scoring the first five points, but Belmont took the lead on a Mick Hedgepath old fashioned 3-point play and took the lead for good on a pair of Blake Jenkins free throws with 11:30 left in the opening half – eventually building a 15-point lead at the intermission.
The 15-2 run saw Belmont turn a 15-13 lead into a 30-15 margin over more than seven minutes. The Bruins scored the first seven points on the spurt before Powell tried to slow the run with a layup with 6:01 left in the half. Belmont came right back with the next eight points – capping the run with an Ian Clark layup with 3:04 remaining.
Kerron Johnson added 17 points for Belmont despite hitting just 3-of-10 from the floor, going 10-for-14 at the free throw line. Hedgepath added 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Jacksonville got a double-double from Powell, who scored 15 points and pulled down 11 boards to go along with a career-high tying four blocks as the Dolphins blocked eight shots as a team. Tevin Galvin added 10 points as well.
The Dolphins will hit the road for the next two games against in-state rivals, starting with a trip to Stetson on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is set for 3:15 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.