Dec. 3, 2005
Solid defense and clutch shooting were the key ingredients in the Lipscomb Bisons 56-54 victory over East Tennessee State.
The victory was a crucial one for the Bisons. Any road win in the Atlantic Sun Conference is a bonus and a victory over a preseason favorite like ETSU is even sweeter. Adding to the excitement was the fact the Bisons were coming off a last-second loss (67-66) Thursday night at Kennesaw State.
"I'm proud of our guys," said Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson. "It would have been easy to have not played as well or played as hard after the way we played at Kennesaw State. To come back and get a win here is big for our guys."
Lipscomb forward Cameron Robinson scored with a follow-up shot at the buzzer to give the Bisons the victory Saturday afternoon at the Memorial Center in Johnson City. Senior guard James Poindexter made a 3-point shot. Eddie Ard had followed up with a rebound of Poindexter's miss and then missed a shot of his own to set the stage for Robinson's game-winner.
The victory was the first on the road for the Bisons this season. They are 2-3 overall, 1-1 in the A-Sun.
The Bisons jumped out to a 10-6 lead, but saw that evaporate as ETSU went on a 10-1 scoring run at 10:10, leading as many as nine points.
The Bisons held ETSU's top gunner Tim Smith to only eight points in the first half and ETSU to only 29 first half points, but poor shooting from the field (22 percent) kept the Bisons from taking over in the first half. The Bisons trailed 29-21 at intermission. Most of the first half and early into the second half ETSU was set defensively in a 2-3 defense that dared the Bisons to shoot from 3-point range.
"A lot of times when you miss a lot of shots you lose your energy defensively," said Sanderson. "The more shots we missed, the more energy we had defensively and the more energy we had rebounding the basketball."
In the second half the Bisons chipped away. The Bisons went on a 10-0 run of their own to take the lead. After making 10 turnovers in the first half, the Bisons committed only five turnovers in the second half.
Shooting was also much improved in the second half hitting 21-of-47 shots for a 44.7 percent success rate from the field. For the game the Bisons were 20-of-63, 31.7 percent.
"I just hope we can build on this," said Sanderson. "Believe it or not, we are a good shooting team. We just haven't been able to make shots for whatever reason. If we put a little bit of shooting with our defense and rebounding we have a chance to be good."
Defense was the key for the Bisons in both the first and second halves. They held Smith to only two points in the second half and 44.7 percent for the game.
"To shoot 22 percent in the first half and only be down eight points you have to be doing something right defensively and rebounding the ball," said Sanderson. "The only baskets ETSU got, for the most part in both halves, were transition baskets. When we locked into our half-court defense they didn't score much."
The Bisons were hampered by foul trouble with both center Shaun Durant and forward Eddie Ard getting in trouble early. Ard managed to thrive, hitting a game-high 17 points, 15 in the second half, and grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds.
"Eddie had a couple of stick backs and we needed everyone of them," said Sanderson. "He is one of those guys who can get on a roll a little bit. When he focuses on rebounding he is awfully good."
Durant left the game with his fifth foul with 5:51 left in the game. Freshman Kris Alpers went in for Durant, but Alpers was saddled with four fouls when he re-entered the game. Still Alpers also managed to play well, hauling down nine rebounds and scoring five points in 12 minutes of play.
"I thought Kris played great," said Sanderson. "He is still learning on the defensive end of the floor, but to get nine rebounds in 12 minutes is just awesome."
With 6:22 the Bisons were ahead by seven points at 51-44. The Bisons led 51-50 with 2:51 left to play. Smith missed a pair of free throws at 2:51 that would have given ETSU the lead.
Poindexter was knocked to the floor on the next play. He went to the line and hit both shots to give the Bisons a 53-50 edge.
With 7.7 seconds left Lipscomb guard Trey Williams fouled ETSU's Travis Strong. Strong missed the first shot and hit the second to tie the game at 54-54.
The Bisons held a 50-34 advantage on the boards, with many of their points coming on second chances with 27 offensive rebounds.
"It is easy to rebound the basketball when you know you are going to miss the shot," said Sanderson. "We missed a lot of shots. But our guys kept battling and battling."
Also in double figures for the Bisons was Poindexter with 14 points. Robinson, who sat out the game at Kennesaw State, added eight rebounds.
"Cameron is very valuable to this team," said Sanderson. "When he didn't play at Kennesaw State that hurt us because he is so active and such a good rebounder. He is a total team guy. We run absolutely zero plays to him. But he is a trash guy who is going to stay around the basket and keep balls alive."
Sneed led ETSU with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Smith, who came into the game average 21 points, finished with 10.
"A lot of his shots were in transition," said Sanderson. "You have to cut the head off, and he is the head that makes them go. ETSU is an awfully explosive team. They were averaging 80-something points a game and we held them to 54."