Recap: Belmont vs. Fla Gulf Coast
Macon, GA (Sports Network) - Ian Clark scored 16 points to lead five Bruins in double figures, and Belmont defended its 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference title with an 83-69 win over Florida Gulf Coast.
Kerron Johnson and Mick Hedgepeth each contributed double-doubles for Belmont (27-7), as Johnson poured in 14 points to go with 11 rebounds and Hedgepeth had 14 and 10, respectively.
Blake Jenkins added 15 points and Scott Saunders finished with 12 for the Bruins, who will make consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since they played in three straight from 2006-08.
Brett Comer paced all scorers with 20 points for the Eagles (15-17), who received 13 apiece from Filip Cvjeticanin and Kevin Cantinol in defeat.
FGCU played tough for the majority of the game, leading by as many as 13 points in the first half and preventing Belmont from holding a lead larger than three until the 11:49 mark of the second.
But the Bruins took a five-point advantage on Brandon Baker's layup that was quickly extended to eight after Hedgepeth finished off a three-point play.
After a Comer trey a bit later cut the Eagles' deficit to four, Belmont rolled off nine straight to take a 68-55 lead with seven minutes to play.
The Bruins led by double digits thereafter.Game Notes
Belmont shot 56 percent (14-of-25) from the floor in the second half and 46.6 percent (27-of-58) overall...FGSU shot 50 percent (16-of-32) from the field in the first half en route to a 42-39 halftime lead...The Bruins outrebounded the Eagles 44-30.