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MBB-FCS: Belmont Bruins (19-9) at Drake Bulldogs (22-6)

The men’s basketball team from Belmont University will play again on Sunday at Drake.

With three regular-season conference games remaining, Belmont enters play one game behind Bradley and Drake for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.

Wednesday, Belmont prevailed 95-63 over Evansville. While limiting the visitors to 31% shooting, the Bruins shot 57% from the field.

Ben Sheppard, a senior, is building on his all-conference performance last year and has established himself as one of college basketball’s most complete players. In 19 statistical categories, including total points, points per game, field goals made, and field goal percentage, the Atlanta native is among the leaders of the MVC. With over 1,400 career points, 450 rebounds, 200 assists, and 100 steals, he belongs to a select group of active college basketball players. Over his previous ten games, Sheppard has scored 219 points. In the game against Evansville, he almost had his first triple-double of his career, scoring 16 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and dishing out seven assists.

Sheppard became the first player to win the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week award three times this season on February 6.

Keishawn Davidson, one of only five MVC players to record double-digit assists in a game this season, had a season-high ten assists against Missouri State.

Dec. 19, Davidson was named Newcomer of the Week for the Missouri Valley Conference. In terms of assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio, he currently ranks fourth in the MVC. This season, Davidson has five or more assists in 12 games. At Chattanooga, he had a season-high 23 points, and at Evansville, he had 14 points and six assists.

Cade Tyson, who currently leads the MVC in scoring among freshmen (13.5), has made an immediate impact for the Bruins on both ends of the floor. Tyson has scored in the double digits in nine straight games and in 22 of his 26 appearances, including a season-high 20 points against Missouri State. Tyson ESPN SCTop10 was ranked No. 1 because of his game-winning shot in Belmont’s victory over Ohio in the season opener. 1 play. The native of Monroe, North Carolina, has the fourth-lowest total shooting percentage in the MVC when it comes to attempts at 2- and 3-point field goals. Tyson scored 13 focuses versus Drake recently.

This season, fellow freshman Ja’Kobi Gillespie has also made an impact. The native of Greeneville, Tennessee, currently leads the league in both assists and steals. His six steals against George Mason remain the single-game standard for the conference. In his last 11 games, Gillespie has had 39 assists, including a season-high 18 points and six assists against Evansville.

Drew Friberg, a graduate student, is the team’s third-leading scorer, averaging 11.8 points per game. At Georgia State, he scored a career-high 24 points and at Illinois State, he had 14 points and six rebounds. With 92 3-point field goals, Friberg leads the MVC and ranks in the top 10 nationally for 3-point field goals and 3-point field goal percentage.

Even Brauns has scored in the double digits in seven conference contests, including three of his last six contests. In the game against Illinois State on February 4, Brauns had a season-high 18 points and 12 rebounds. In terms of offensive rebounding and blocked shots, he leads the league.

In games played in the Missouri Valley Conference, Belmont has scored 299 bench points, including a season-high 33 bench points against Valparaiso on January 10 and 31 against UIC on February 11.

Drake and Belmont have met three times before. The series is 1-1 tied.

In the previous four years, Drake and Belmont each received at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament; Drake defeated Wichita State in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, while Belmont defeated Temple in the 2019 tournament.

At the 2021 ESPN Events Invitational in Kissimmee, Florida, Belmont defeated Drake 74-69. Nick Muszynski had nine rebounds and a game-high 31 points.

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