Belmont routs SIU Edwardsville 73-43 to win OVC

The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Blake Jenkins scored 17 points with 11 rebounds as Belmont trounced Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 73-43 Wednesday night to secure its fourth consecutive regular-season conference championship and first Ohio Valley Conference title.

The Bruins (23-6, 13-2), who were Atlantic Sun Conference champions from 2010-2012, also clinched the No. 1 seed in the OVC tournament.

Belmont led 28-9 early, but the Cougars (9-17, 5-10) closed to 39-28 at halftime and made it 41-33 with 18:58 remaining. The Bruins then held the Cougars to one basket and two free throws over the next 17 minutes to lead 70-37.

SIU Edwardsville shot 18.2 percent (4 of 22) in the second half with 11 turnovers in dropping its fourth straight game.

Ian Clark added 14 points, Trevor Noack 13 and JJ Mann 11 for Belmont, which has won 19 consecutive home games for the nation's third-longest active streak.

Kris Davis led the Cougars with 19 points.

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