Hungry Belmont marks LSU’s first true test of season


Belmont and LSU will face each other Monday night in Baton Rouge, La., before traveling for Thanksgiving weekend tournaments.

The Tigers (4-0) have won each of their games by a comfortable margin, averaging 35.5 points more than their opponents.

After trailing at halftime in consecutive games before taking control, they started better in their last game and defeated McNeese State 85-46 on Thursday night.

“Good win, better start,” LSU coach Will Wade said.

Tari Eason, a transfer from Cincinnati, sparked the Tigers with 19 points and 14 rebounds in 22 minutes of the bench. It was his third double-double in four games.

“That’s something I’ve come to pride myself in — just have a high motor and do the little things, get a rebound, block a shot,” Eason said. “That’s what I’m really trying to focus on, just make an impact defensively so it can turn into a positive thing for the team.”

Belmont (3-1), which defeated visiting Kennesaw State 97-78 on Friday night, might be the biggest challenge the Tigers have faced so far.

The Bruins have been one of the most frequent postseason participants in the last 16 years, but they also have the hunger of missing out on postseason play the last two seasons.

They have received postseason invitations in 14 of the last 16 seasons, including nine NCAA Tournament bids, but COVID cost them the NCAA bid they had earned two years ago by winning the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship and a loss to Morehead State in the OVC title game last year kept them out of the postseason even though they were 26-4.

The top seven scorers returned from last year’s team, joined by five graduate transfers.

“We have reason to believe we can do special things,” coach Casey Alexander said before the season, “and perhaps things that have never been done before (at Belmont).

“Maybe we got a little lucky (in retaining so many players) in the sense that there’s definitely still more out there to prove.”

–Field Level Media

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