Feb. 15, 2006
The stretch run is here for the Lipscomb Bisons basketball team and the trail to the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship runs through North Carolina this week.
The Bisons, tied with Belmont for first place with a 12-4 record, play at Campbell Thursday night Buies Creek, N.C., and then go to Boiling Springs, N.C., to face Gardner-Webb Saturday.
"I don't what is going to happen," said Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson. "Hopefully, we can win them both. Hopefully, we can get a split if we don't win them both."
One thing Sanderson wants to do is to reduce the 3-point shots they are taking. In the past five games they have averaged 28 3-point shots a game. Before that they were averaging around 20.
"Our defense hasn't been as good the last few games so we haven't got any cheap baskets in transition. You can't drive in a half-court setting because it is all packed in. We will have to adjust to that situation."
"Cameron and James are seniors who had been starting their whole careers," said Sanderson. "They went to the bench in the middle of their senior years. They accepted their roles and they are one of the reasons why we are in first place."
"We might change it again as we go to Campbell," said Sanderson. "The roles of James, Cameron, Michael and Trey have changed a lot."
Sophomore forward Eddie Ard has been challenged to take his game to a higher level.
"We have to get out of our comfort zone," said Sanderson. "Ard can go two or three levels higher than anyone else on this team. Brian Fisk, as good as he has been, can still go to another level. If we don't press them we won't get it out of them. I told them I'll stop pressing at the end of March.
"Whatever we are able to accomplish is what they have done on the floor. Our preparation has been very, very good."
Campbell is the only team that has beaten the Bisons at Allen Arena this season, taking a 95-91 decision.
"We lost that game in the first half because the basket was so big for them," said Sanderson. "In the second half we actually guarded Campbell pretty good but the basket was already so big for them they were even making bad shots."
Sanderson ranks Gardner-Webb, the preseason No. 1 selection, as one of the hottest teams in the league.
"It is going to be Senior Night at Gardner-Webb," said Sanderson.
Sanderson isn't shy about his goal for the Bisons.
"We want to win the league," said Sanderson. "We didn't come here to play for second. We are capable of winning the league, but it doesn't mean we are going to win it. But I like our team and I like our chances."
The Bisons will be back home next week for the final two games of the regular season with East Tennessee State visiting on Friday for a game which will be shown on CSS and close out on Sunday afternoon against Kennesaw State.