Bel­mont, FDU get first-ever NCAA wins

Loss was Dun­phy’s last game at Tem­ple

The Buffalo News - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL -

Kevin McClain scored a game-high 29 points Tues­day night, and cen­ter Nate Muszyn­ski added 16 as Bel­mont put the Ohio Val­ley Con­fer­ence’s first at-large bid in 32 years to good use, knock­ing off Tem­ple 81-70 in a bat­tle of East Re­gion No. 11 seeds at the First Four in Day­ton, Ohio.

The Bru­ins (27-5) ad­vance to a first-round matchup Thurs­day in Jack­sonville against sixth-seeded Mary­land. Mak­ing the win even more im­pres­sive was that their lead­ing scorer, 6-foot-8 Dy­lan Windler, hit just 2 of 7 shots and man­aged just five points.

Shizz Al­ston tal­lied 21 points to pace the Owls (23-10), while Nate Pierre-Louis had 13 points and 11 re­bounds. Quin­ton Rose and J.P. Moor­man II each added 10 points, but it wasn’t enough to keep coach Fran Dun­phy on the side­line for one more game. Dun­phy, who an­nounced his pend­ing re­tire­ment last spring, won 270 games in 13 years at Tem­ple.

Tem­ple ripped off a 21-5 run to grab a 52-47 lead with 11:26 left on a jumper by Pierre-Louis, but Bel­mont re­sponded with a 16-3 burst. McClain ended it with a 3-pointer at the 6:12 mark to give the Bru­ins a 6355 ad­van­tage.

It was the first NCAA Tour­na­ment win for Bel­mont in eight tries, as well as the 805th ca­reer win in coach Rick Byrd’s 33-year ca­reer (713 of the vic­to­ries com­ing with the Bru­ins).

Knights shine

Dar­nell Edge scored a ca­reer-high 33 points as Fair­leigh Dick­in­son ral­lied from a 13-point sec­ond-half deficit to post an 82-76 vic­tory over Prairie View A&M on Tues­day in the NCAA West Re­gion play-in game in Day­ton.

Fel­low guard Jahlil Jenk­ins scored 20 of his 22 points in the sec­ond half as the 16th-seeded Knights (21-13) recorded their first NCAA Tour­na­ment vic­tory in the pro­gram’s his­tory. North­east Con­fer­ence cham­pion Fair­leigh Dick­in­son will face No. 1 seed Gon­zaga (30-3) on Thurs­day in Salt Lake City.

Mike Hol­loway Jr. col­lected 10 points, 14 re­bounds and four blocks, and Kaleb Bishop added 10 points and 11 boards as the Knights won their ninth straight game.

Gary Black­ston scored 18 of his 27 points in the sec­ond half for South­west Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pion Prairie View A&M (22-13), which saw its 11-game win­ning streak halted and lost for just the sec­ond time in 23 con­tests since the cal­en­dar flipped to 2019.

Jenk­ins capped a siz­zling 8 of 9 stretch from the field with a 3-pointer to give Fair­leigh Dick­in­son a 68-66 lead with 4:28 re­main­ing in the sec­ond half. Hol­loway scored from in­side, and Edge drained a 3-pointer with three min­utes to go as the Knights com­pleted a 10-0 run to give the team its largest ad­van­tage of the game with a 73-66 lead.

Getty Im­ages

Bel­mont’s Michael Benkert re­acts to a play dur­ing the Bru­ins’ win over Tem­ple in the First Four Tues­day.

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