JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- J.J. Mann scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead all five Belmont starters in double figures as the Bruins won their Ohio Valley Conference opener by holding off Jacksonville State 73-62 Thursday night.
Belmont (10-4) led by 10 in the first half, but the Gamecocks closed to 33-31 at halftime and pulled ahead 48-47 with 10:24 left.
Reece Chamberlain scored on a 3-pointer and a layup to spark a 9-2 run and the Bruins expanded their lead to 10, at 67-57, with 3:09 left.
Blake Jenkins added 14 points, Ian Clark had 12 and Kerron Johnson and Trevor Noack chipped in 11 apiece for the Bruins, who shot 52 percent from the field (26 of 50) and were a perfect 17 of 17 from the foul line.
Brian Williams scored 18 to lead Jacksonville State (10-4, 2-1), which came in having won seven of its previous eight games.
Forward Kennedy Meeks, who has averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds at North Carolina, has pulled out of the NBA draft and will return to the Tar Heels.
Cal big man Ivan Rabb could have been selected in the top 10 of the NBA draft. Instead, he's returning to Berkeley to make himself, and the Golden Bears, stronger.
Devin Williams' decision last month to sign with an agent and enter the NBA draft has left West Virginia in a tough spot.
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