After Kyle Collinsworth took the ball to the rim after winning the tip to start the game, the Cougars went 0 of 7 during a scoring drought of three minutes until Kyle Davis scored on a putback with 16:20 to play, making it 5-4 for Belmont.
Craig Bradshaw stepped up early for the Bruins, scoring two 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the half to add to their 8-4 lead. After a timeout, Davis added a layup to narrow Belmont's lead 8-6. Belmont's Burton Sampson responded with a layup of his own. A dunk from Davis and a layup by Nick Emery tied the score at 10 with 13 minutes to play. Emery went coast-to-coast 15 seconds later, giving the Cougars their first lead of the night, 12-10.
After the Bruins timeout, Bradshaw responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to give Belmont the lead 16-12 with 11:20 to play. Taylor Barnette's 3-pointer and Bradshaw's layup put the Bruins up 21-12 with 10 minutes to play.
Belmont went 6 of 6 on their shots for two minutes while completing a 15-2 run. Emery ended the Bruins's run with a 3-pointer with nine minutes to play, and Collinsworth's three-point play 15 seconds later started a 6-0 run for BYU in just over a minute. Tyler Hadden's 3-pointer ended the Cougars' run with 7:35 to play, giving Belmont a 28-20 lead.
Emery's two 3-pointers put the Cougars within four with 5:20 to play, and Collinsworth added a layup to bring the game within two with 4:48 to play. Strong defense for the Cougars gave Collinsworth another layup and tied the game at 30-30 with 3:53 to play. After a Bradshaw layup, Jake Toolson pulled up for the 3-pointer that gave the Cougars the lead with 3:21 left in the first half at 33-32. However, Bradshaw would hit a 3-pointer 30 seconds later to give Belmont the lead again 35-33 with 2:50 to play.
The teams traded layups for a minute before Toolson made a 3 to make it 39-38 for Belmont. Mack Mercer responded with his own 3-pointer for the Bruins with 40 seconds to play. The Cougars would get the last possession of the half, but Jake Toolson couldn't convert the half-court shot.
Emery ended the half with 13 points and a pair of rebounds. Collinsworth had 13 points, four assists and two rebounds, and Davis added six rebounds to the Cougar effort in the first half. Belmont's Craig Bradshaw had 19 points and four rebounds, and was 7 of 9 from the floor.