Belmont rallies past ETSU 69-61 in Atlantic Sun

MACON, Ga. (AP)—Ian Clark scored 19 points as top-seeded Belmont rallied from an eight-point first-half deficit to beat East Tennessee State 69-61 Friday night in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament.

The win was the 13th straight for the Bruins, who shot 58.3 percent (14 of 24) after halftime to defeat the Buccaneers for the third time this season.

Down 24-16 at the 5:54 mark and 31-26 at halftime, Belmont (26-7) opened the second half with an 18-4 run to lead 44-35 with 13:14 remaining.

After the Bruins stretched the lead to 12, fourth-seeded ETSU (17-14) closed to 59-56 with 2:55 left. Kerron Johnson hit a 3-pointer and the Bruins maintained a four-point cushion the rest of the way.

Johnson added 12 points for Belmont, which came in ranked third in the NCAA in points per game (81.9)

Adam Solazzo’s 16 points led ETSU, which snapped its four-game winning streak.

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Updated Friday, Mar 2, 2012