Belmont catches fire from 3-point range in win over Boston College

Nik Popovic led the Eagles (3-1) with 23 points.

Nik Popovic and the Eagles are 3-1.
Nik Popovic and the Eagles are 3-1. –Nell Redmond/AP Photo

BOSTON (AP) — Adam Kunkel scored 10 of his career-high 35 points during a game-breaking run to lead Belmont to a 100-85 victory over Boston College on Saturday afternoon.

Nick Hopkins chipped in with 15 points, Nick Muszynski had 13 and Michael Benkert 10 for the Bruins (2-1). Kunkel was 5 for 9 on 3-point attempts and 10-of-10 from the free-throw line.

Nik Popovic led the Eagles (3-1) with 23 points, and Derryck Thornton scored 15 with seven assists despite playing with a sore right ankle that sent him to the locker room briefly in the opening half.

The Bruins used torrid 3-point shooting during a 30-7 run over a 7:22 stretch, pushing their two-point lead to 79-54 on Hopkins’ 3 from the right corner with just over 12 minutes to play.


During the run, Belmont went 6 for 7 from beyond the arc, connecting on all of them in a 4:43 stretch. Kunkel hit two during the spree.

Belmont went to the locker room holding a 49-45 edge after a well- played opening half that saw both teams shot over 50 percent (BC 61, Belmont 55).

In the first half, the lead changed hands 16 times and neither team led by more than five.

Thornton, a graduate transfer from USC, went down and grabbed his ankle midway into the first half before heading to the locker room, but returned to action about two minutes later. He also limped off favoring the same ankle in the last game.

It was the first-ever meeting between the schools and was part of the Gotham Classic, which is made up of five teams (also Saint Louis, Eastern Washington and High Point) from across the country.

Boston College forward Jairus Hamilton missed his third straight game with a leg injury.


Belmont: The Bruins have won an Ohio Valley Conference title the last 17 years (seven tourneys and 10 regular season) and posted 19 wins in 14 consecutive seasons. Judging by Saturday’s well-balanced offense and steady play, they’ll be tough to beat again this season.

Boston College: The Eagles had relied on strong defense during their first three games, but Belmont’s efficient offense and long-range success brought them back to reality for Atlantic Coast Conference play. It was a test they can learn a lot from, especially if they continue to provide the solid scoring they showed.



Belmont: At High Point on Monday night.

Boston College: Hosts Eastern Washington on Wednesday night.

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