Belmont Defeats ETSU to Advance to Second-Straight Final

Friday, March 02, 2012

MACON, Ga. - Belmont topped ETSU in the 2012 General Shale Atlantic Sun Men's Basketball Championship Semifinal, 69-61, to advance to the championship final. The 2012 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year, Ian Clark finished with a game-high 19 points on five three pointers and added four rebounds and four assists.

The semifinal contest was the fourth meeting between the two teams in championship history with the Bruins claiming two of the first three contests. In total, Belmont (26-7) knocked down 12 three-pointers with First Team All-Conference member, Drew Hanlen contributing three triples to finish with nine points.

ETSU led at the break, 31-26, but a 9-0 Belmont run to open the second stanza quickly erased the Buccaneers advantage. The Bruins increased the score differential to as much as 12 on two occasions in the closing period, but ETSU battled back to cut the difference to as little as three with 2:55 to play.

Read the Atlantic Sun Insider Column: Belmont Claims Latest in Rivalry Meeting with ETSU

Belmont moves to 8-0 as the one-seed in the conference championship and advances to its fifth championship final. The Bruins are 4-0 in their previous championship final appearances.

The ETSU (17-14) senior trio of Adam Sollazzo, Tommy Hubbard and Isiah Brown combined for 34 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists in the loss.

Belmont advances to Saturday's 7 p.m. ET championship final on ESPN2 where they face the winner of No. 2 Mercer and No. 6 FGCU.

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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.