JACKSON, Miss. – The Spring Hill College men's basketball team watched as a 12-0 second-half run by the Belhaven University Blazers turned a close contest into a 79-62 BU conference victory at Rugg Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Spring Hill responded to a frustrating home loss to their archrivals the University of Mobile Rams on Thursday night by jumping out to a quick 10-2 lead on the Blazers in the first four minutes of play and maintained a comfortable eight to10 point advantage throughout the first 10 minutes in the game.
The Blazers (12-11, 7-5 SSAC) regrouped to slice the Badger bulge to just 23-22 with 7:49 in the first half and Brittion Smith would give Belhaven its first lead of the day at 24-22 with a layup at the 7:08 mark.
Smith and teammate Terrence Stringfellow to trade Belhaven baskets over the next two minutes as the Blazers built out a 30-23 lead with the Badgers struggling to make baskets on the other end of the court.
At the half, the score stood at 35-33 in favor of the home-standing Blazers, but Spring Hill snatched back the lead at 42-41 just 5½ minutes into the second half off a layup by freshman center Jake Thelen of Edgewood, Ky., following an assist by junior forward Brett Williams of Oviedo, Fla.
A 3-minute, 12-0 run by Belhaven was highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers followed by a dunk from Andrew Marshall with 7:40 on the clock as the Blazers would take a 64-49 lead with 6:53 to play.
Thelen led the Badgers with 22 points and 11 rebounds while senior guard Stephen Burches of Hammond, La., pitched in 12 points and Williams added 10 points.
As a team, SHC shot 40.7% (24-59) from the field, but were just 15.4% (2-13) from 3-point land. The Badgers suffered 15 turnovers against 11 steals by the Blazers and were out-rebounded 40 to 30.
Smith led six Blazers that tallied double-digit scoring with 15 points in an incredibly balanced offensive effort by Belhaven.
The Blazers were 51.8% (29-56) overall in shooting and made three of their nine 3-point attempts. Belhaven turned the ball over just 13 times in the face of six Badger steals.
Spring Hill (10-8, 5-6 SSAC) will host William Carey University (8-12, 5-6 SSAC) on Thursday at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center beginning at 7:30 p.m.