Kuhlman, Defense Lead Crusaders to 76-59 Win Over Lions

Kuhlman, Defense Lead Crusaders to 76-59 Win Over Lions

BELMONT, N.C. - Freshman Maria Kuhlman scored 20 points against Emmanuel College (Ga.) to help Belmont Abbey to a 76-59 victory in this afternoon's REDucation Game.  The win improves the Crusaders' record to 9-4 on the season and 6-0 in Conference Carolinas play.  The Lions dipped to 7-5 on the year, with a 2-4 conference record.

The Crusaders made back-to-back 3-pointers in their first two possessions of the game.  A 6-0 run, capped by two Taylor Gittings free throws, put The Abbey in front 18-11.  Belmont Abbey owned an 18-13 lead at the end of the quarter.  Kuhlman scored each of the first six Abbey points of the second.  This began a 14-0 run over the first 7:06 of the quarter.  The defensive unit only surrendered five Emmanuel points in the period, which ended with a jumper by senior Briana Grier and a 37-18 Belmont Abbey lead at halftime.

After struggling to score in the opening minutes of the second half, Irelynn Davisson and Caroline Tomey gave The Abbey back-to-back 3-pointers for a 44-35 edge.  Then Kuhlman and Allie Downing combined for three 3-pointers in the last 1:39 of the period to put the Crusaders on top 53-39 heading into the final quarter.

Belmont Abbey went on an 11-2 run to open the fourth.  During that stretch, Davisson nailed two 3-point shots.  The defense continued its excellent performance, and The Abbey finished the day with the 76-59 win.

On the day, Kuhlman led The Abbey's efforts with 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range.  Davisson finished with nine points while Emry Tsitouris and Keyanna Spivey each grabbed eight rebounds.  The defense only allowed Emmanuel to make five 3-pointers for the game.

Belmont Abbey will be back in action tomorrow, when it welcomes Erskine College to the Wheeler Center for a 2 p.m. contest.