Rick Byrd wins 750th, Belmont clinches share of OVC (Feb 16, 2017)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Belmont head coach Rick Byrd earned his 750th win and the Bruins held off Eastern Kentucky 76-72 to claim at least a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title on Thursday night.
Evan Bradds had 25 points and 12 rebounds Dylan Windler scored 23 and Amanze Egekeze added 10 for the Bruins (19-5, 13-1), who have two games remaining and three-game lead over Morehead State (9-3) which has four games to go.
Belmont bounced back from an 83-70 loss to Tennessee Tech on Saturday, the Bruins' first loss after winning 14 straight.
Bradds and Windler made 7 of 8 free throws over a 2 1/2-minute stretch to give Belmont a 69-60 lead with 2:39 left. The Colonels (10-18, 3-10) closed within 69-68, but Bradds had a 3-point play with 1:02 left and Belmont made all four free throws in the final 29 seconds.
Asante Gist had 27 points and Nick Mayo scored 26 for Eastern Kentucky.
Byrd has 658 wins since taking over at Belmont in 1986. Before his first game as coach, he noticed the popcorn stand was unattended at the women's game and took over the stand.