Belmont begins season with strong start

Jehad Abbed, Staff Reporter

The Belmont University men’s basketball team currently sits at the top spot of the Ohio Valley Conference as the early stretch of non-conference games continue.

Behind junior guard and conference leading scorer Craig Bradshaw, Belmont has a 6-1 record.

Bradshaw is averaging 22.3 points on the season while also leading the conference in three pointers made at 3.4 per game.

The Bruins’ only loss came in their first game at the hands of Wright State University.

Eastern Kentucky University boasts a 4-1 record after the first month of play comes to an end.

The Colonels are the No. 1 scoring offense in the conference putting up 91 points per game.

They are outscoring their opponents by an average of 32.6 points. Senior guard Corey Walden anchors the defense with 3.4 steal per game.

Jacksonville State University is sitting at 4-3 on the year and are holding opponents to just 27 percent from behind the three point line..

The Gamecocks are on a four-game win streak after losing their first three including a 49-point loss to a now No. 7 ranked Louisville.

Tennessee Tech University is 3-3 this season and has found success by crashing the boards.

The Golden Eagles are leading the conference with 40.3 rebounds per game.

They are outrebounding other teams by an average of 10 behind junior center Charles Jackson who is pulling down 11 boards per game.

At a 4-5 record, Morehead State University has played the most game of any team in the OVC.

Morehead’s first loss came in its season opener against a traditionally tough University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The Eagles’ defense leads the conference holding teams to 40 percent on field goals.

Tennessee-Martin has a 3-2 record so far. The Skyhawks have scored the second most points by an OVC team in a single game this year during a 115-29 win against ACCA Champion Baptist College.

Senior forward Nino Johnson and his 12.3 points per game have led Southeast Missouri  to 3-3 record heading into December.

The Redhawks are only connecting on 4.8 three-pointers per game. That is only more than two other teams in the conference.

The conference’s worst rebounding team is Murray State University. The Racers are 3-4 so far and are being outrebounded by 5.7 boards per game.

Despite troubles on the glass, Murray State has two of the top six scorers in the OVC.

Eastern is currently 2-5 after a stretch of games that coach Jay Spoonhour said was about as hard as the Panthers would want to start.

The Panthers are holding teams to an average of less than 60 points per game, but their biggest issue is outscoring them.

Tennessee State University is on a four-game losing streak that brought its record to 2-5.

The streak began with two 30-plus point losses, one of which was to number nine nationally ranked University of Virginia. The Tigers seem to have troubles sharing the ball averaging a conference worst 9.7 assists per game.

Another conference team with 2-5 record, Austin Peay State University is struggling heavily on the defensive end.

The Governors are giving up more points than anyone else in the OVC at 73.9 points per game with opponents shooting nearly 50 percent.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville has played and won fewer games than any other team in the conference.

The Cougars are just 1-3 right now. While they lead the conference in blocked shots, they are also allowing teams to shoot nearly 40 percent from outside the 3-point line.

Much like Eastern, most of the Ohio Valley Conference games will not be in full swing until the beginning of January.

Jehad Abbed can be reached at 217-581-2812 or [email protected]