Feb. 9, 2006
A win is a win in the highly competitive Atlantic Sun Conference, but that doesn't mean that Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson had to enjoy it.
"There are teams you are supposed to beat on paper, but that doesn't mean you are going to win," said Sanderson. "You have to focus in against those teams."
His Bisons beat A-Sun newcomer North Florida 75-65 Thursday night at Allen Arena, but Sanderson found little to be happy about except the outcome. He spent several minutes after the game letting his team know just how displeased he was with the performance.
"We have lost our pride in defending people," said Sanderson. "That is what we have hung our hat on for 70-something practices is getting down and defending people.
"If we don't get that pride back, we are not going to get the results that we want. That is why we sat in there and tried to explain to them that winning is one thing, but winning the way we are supposed to win is totally different."
The Bisons spotted North Florida a 4-0 lead, but after taking a 9-6 lead at 14:27 on a 3-point shot by Jason Guyette they never trailed again.
The Bisons biggest first half lead was 11 points when center Shaun Durant scored on a lay-up to end a fast break to make it 28-17 with 5:44 left in the half.
But North Florida refused to go away easily, chipping away at the Bisons lead. With 25 seconds left before intermission North Florida pulled to within four points on a lay-up and free throw by Rashad Williams.
Lipscomb's Eddie Ard answered with a field goal with four seconds left to give the Bisons a 35-29 advantage at the half despite hitting only 3-of-19 tries from 3-point range.
"I asked our team at halftime to give me the answers," said Sanderson. "One of the guys said that if we had made our shots in the first half we would have been fine. That's true, but that is what our focus is.
"If we are defending like we were earlier in the year we are still up 10 or 12 points at the half instead of six points. Our players have their focus on the wrong end of the floor."
Early in the second half a 3-pointer by North Florida's Alain Laroche would cut the Bisons lead to five at 37-32, but that would be the closest they would get.
The Bisons steadily built their lead, taking a 19-point lead (56-37) at 12:32 on a 3-pointer from James Poindexter.
North Florida remained a pesky foe, slowly cutting the Bisons lead to nine points (70-61) with 2:22 remaining in the game.
But the Bisons would score the next five points to take a 14-point lead with 48 seconds left to seal the outcome.
The Bisons shot 43.2 percent from the field. Ard led the Bisons with 21 points. Brian Fisk added 18 and Poindexter chipped in with 17. Cameron Robinson finished with 10, and also led in rebounding with nine.
North Florida shot 38.9 percent with Williams scoring a game-high 24 points. Ryan Daugherty finished with 16. Laroche scored 15 points and led the team in rebounding with nine.
"We played worse tonight than we did against Stetson," said Sanderson. "And I'm not taking anything away from North Florida.
"It is more about our team and what we are doing. If we don't get that mindset changed the next 2 ½ weeks we are not going to get the results we want."
North Florida fell to 6-17 overall, 3-13 in the A-Sun.
The win keeps the Bisons, 11-4 in the A-Sun, in a tie for second with Belmont. Both teams are one-half game behind East Tennessee State.
"When we get in the conference tournament and start playing very, very good teams our focus will have to be on the right end of the court or we won't be playing very long," said Sanderson. "It is hard for a team to keep its focus for six months.
"But I think, as a coach, that we have a couple of more levels we can go to, but the question is, are we going to get to those levels when we need to get there. Right now our goal is to win the league championship. I think it is available there for us."
The Bisons, 15-8 overall, are back home Saturday at 1 p.m. to face Jacksonville as part of Homecoming activities on campus.