BY DAVID BOCLAIR
It is not unusual for the basketball games between Belmont and Lipscomb to turn into 3-point shooting contests.
The latest revival of the Battle of the Boulevard, Tuesday at Belmont, turned into a showdown of low post players. The way Bruins coach Rick Byrd saw it, it was no contest.
Lipscomb’s Rob Marberry and Belmont’s Nick Muszynski each finished as his team’s leading scorer and had comparable statistics when all was said and done. Marberry scored 26 points with eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Muszynski scored 19 points with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots in his team’s 76-74 victory.
The biggest difference was in their experience – Marberry is a senior, Muszynski is a redshirt-freshman – and, according to Byrd, it showed.
“It was battle,” he said. “But Marberry is a fifth-year senior and Nick Muszynski needs to learn the physical nature of the game from him and the positioning that he needs to catch the ball in and the strength with which he needs to play.”
“… When they needed baskets they went to (Marberry) every single time down the floor. Until they got into the last six or eight seconds of the shot clock, they were trying to get it in there. “
Lipscomb made 15 second-half field goals. Marberry accounted for nine of them, including the last two – 42 seconds apart – that tied it 74-74 with 33 seconds remaining.
“I like what we get when we throw it to him close enough to the basket and he’s playing on rhythm,” Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander said. “And that’s really what he did in the second half. He scored the ball well but he also had some good kick-outs and we got other stuff from it as well.”
It’s not the first time the Franklin Road Academy graduate was able to do that. In two-plus seasons since he transferred from Western Kentucky, Marberry has become the program’s leader in career field goal percentage during the NCAA era.
He missed the first two games of the season with injury but since has scored in double figures in all six of his appearances and has shot 60 percent or better from the field in five of them.
Marberry will look to continue that roll Sunday when Lipscomb (6-2) hosts Navy at Allen Arena, (1:30 p.m., ESPN+). It will be their first home game since Nov. 15 and one of just two this month.
“He’s a good player,” Alexander said. “… He delivered in a massive way in the second half [Tuesday].”
Photo from Getty Images.