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Monday, January 17, 2011
Belmont crushing Atlantic Sun opponents

By Diamond Leung

The Belmont Bruins are mauling their conference foes this season and are off to an 8-0 start in the Atlantic Sun. Their average margin of victory: 29 points, tops in the nation in conference domination.

They sent an emphatic message last week in routing preseason favorite Lipscomb 88-52, the worst loss for their conference rival in the NCAA and Atlantic Sun era. The Bisons never led and trailed by as many as 42 points.

"I've never been beaten like that for 40 minutes," Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said afterward. “We never were in the game. It was never in doubt."

Belmont coach Rick Byrd, who took his team to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 2006-08 isn't new at this, of course. Earlier this month, he won his 500th game at the school and appears on his way to many more through the rest of the season.

His 16-3 team is evenly balanced with 11 players averaging double figures in minutes per game and three (Ian Clark, Scott Saunders and Mick Hedgepeth) with scoring averages in double figures.

Only Tennessee and Vanderbilt have beaten the Bruins this season, and they most recently beat Campbell by 35. Can anyone in the Atlantic Sun stop them?