Belmont Upsets Georgia In NIT Opener

Posted at 9:00 PM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 22:00:34-04

It's not the tournament Belmont wanted to be playing in this week, but it's still a big win. The Bruins knocking off no. 2 seed Georgia Wednesday, controlling the entire second half on the way to 78-69 win in the opening round of the NIT.

I don't care that this is the three letter tournament and not the big dance or that Georgia was a middling SEC team this year, this is a massive win for the OVC regular season champs.

Any win over a power five school is. And this was on the road in the postseason.

But it shouldn't come as a surprise. This is the program that legendary coach Rick Byrd has built. And when the Bruins were upset in the OVC Tournament semifinals by Jacksonville State, they promised they would be ready for "that other tournament", and they were.

Seniors Evan Bradds and Taylor Barnette looked like players that didn't want to see their careers come to an end, each scoring 15 points as Belmont extended a 37-34 halftime lead and led by double digits down the stretch.

We also may have seen the official passing of the torch from Bradds to Belmont's next star, Dylan Windler. The sophomore wing man followed up his 16-point performance in the OVC Tournament with a team-high 21 on 7-11 shooting.

Windler only averaged 9.0 points per game this season, but seems poised to take the next step towards stardom next season as Byrd's Belmont machine keeps on rolling.

On Wednesday night it rolled right into the second round of the NIT, and a likely weekend matchup at no. 6 seed Georgia Tech.

Keep playing like they did against the Bulldogs and Belmont might just make as much noise in the NIT as they could've by making the NCAA Tournament.