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Belmont wins at buzzer 70-69 in season opener

Tyson connects after Clayton's 3-pointer gave Ohio lead

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Freshman Cade Tyson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to answer a go-ahead 3-pointer by AJ Clayton, giving Belmont a season-opening 70-69 victory over Ohio on Monday night at the Curb Event Center.

The Bobcats (0-1) trailed by double digits with less than eight minutes remaining and erased a five-point deficit with a minute to go by scoring seven straight points, but the Bruins (1-0) had just enough time to answer.

Clayton nailed a fast break 3-pointer that looked like it would be the game-winning shot, with the clock initially showing 0.8 seconds left. After the time was adjusted to 1.4 seconds, the Bruins inbounded to just past halfcourt and called a timeout, leaving still 1.1 seconds to play.

That was enough time for Michael Shanks to inbound to Tyson at the top of the key. He unloaded with a hand in his face and drained his fourth 3-pointer of the night, giving him 18 points.

"High level game," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "It was a great atmosphere. I think Belmont does it right. You know, there's a reason they have done so well. I mean, you can just tell by the facilities and the crowd. And he's done phenomenal job with the program. And yeah, just off the bat, high level game, first game of the year. We just came up short."

Tyson hit a pair of free throws with 1:16 remaining to give Belmont a 67-62 lead, but Ohio cut its deficit to one with a pair of baskets by Dwight Wilson in the post, the second coming with 36 seconds left after a Bruins turnover.

Ben Sheppard missed a 3-pointer on the other end, and Ben Roderick rebounded. He passed to Miles Brown, who found Clayton open at the arc to cap Ohio’s 7-0 run to put it in front for the only time in the second half.

After missing all of last season with an injury, Wilson had a game-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and added eight rebounds. Tyson and Sheppard had 18 points each for Belmont.

The Bobcats jumped out to a 15-6 lead to start the game, effectively going inside to Wilson and then Gabe Wiznitzer. A basket by Brown made it a nine-point game with 13:28 left in the first half.

Belmont came back with 12 straight points and did not trail again until the final 1.4 seconds. The run was pushed to 19-4 on a Ja’kobi Gillespie free throw, making the score 25-19.

Later, the Bobcats used a quick 9-2 run with a 3-pointer by Devon Baker and then two by Jaylin Hunter to tie the score at 34 with less than two minutes left in the half. The Bruins, though, scored the final seven points of the half, including a Drew Friberg dunk in the final seconds, and moved in front 41-34.

The run continued into the second half with a Gillespie layup and a Sheppard 3-pointer extending the Belmont lead to 46-34. From there, the Bruins maintained a lead and still were up by 10 at 58-48 with 7:28 remaining. The Bobcats slowly worked their way back in it before a big run in the final minute.

Baker finished with 12 points, while Brown had 11 points for Ohio. Clayton had a game-high nine rebounds to go with his seven points.

Friberg and Gellespie both reached double figures for Ohio with 11 points each.

Ohio had one more turnover, 14-13, but four more rebounds, 34-30, and shot the ball better than Belmont from long range by going 9 of 20. The Bruins were 7 of 25 on 3-pointers and just 7 of 13 at the foul line, where the Bobcats were 8 of 9.

The Bobcats have their first home game when they take on Cleveland State at 1 p.m. Saturday at The Convo.

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