Nov. 13, 2006
Senior point guards are supposed to step up in the closing minutes of a big game and that is exactly what Lipscomb's Trey Williams did.
Williams hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 2:32 of the game to keep the Bisons close. He gave them their first lead of the second half at 65-64 after hitting a pair of free throws with 1:11 left on the clock as the Bisons came back to beat Evansville 67-64 Monday night at Allen Arena.
"Right now, we have a mindset that we can win close games because we have won two of them back-to-back," Lipscomb Coach Scott Sanderson said. "That is a hard thing to develop sometimes to make plays down the stretch and win a close game."
Sanderson, who had been discouraged by a couple of floor mistakes by Williams at around the eight-minute mark of the second half, told the senior he had to step up in the final couple of minutes.
"Late in the game someone had to step up," Williams said. "It is not really pressure but a challenge. It was a challenge for him to give me that opportunity to take that role on and take that position. I like when Coach Sanderson challenges me. It makes me more competitive and makes me want to respond."
The Bisons are 2-0. Evansville lost its season opener. The two teams face each other again Dec. 16 at Evansville.
It is the first 2-0 season start for the Bisons in the NCAA era under Sanderson since the 1999-2000 season, the first as part of the transition from the NAIA.
The Bisons held Evansville, from the Missouri Valley Conference, scoreless for the final two minutes of the game.
"This was a huge win for our program," Sanderson said. "The Missouri Valley Conference is going to send four teams to the NCAA Tournament again this season. Evansville is going to win a lot of games."
Evansville's went in at halftime with a 35-34 lead. They came out in the second half and built a nine-point advantage at 50-41 with 10:41 left to play.
Williams scored 20 points, a career high, besting his previous high of 13 points last season in the Atlantic Sun Tournament semi-finals against Gardner-Webb.
Junior forward Eddie Ard led the Bisons with a game-high 21 points. He grabbed rebound on Evansville's end of the court and was fouled by Matt Webster with four seconds left to play. Ard hit both shots to ice the game.
The Bisons lost the rebounding battle by one with Evansville leading 36-35. Ard pulled down a game high eight boards.
"Eddie stepped up big time," Sanderson said. "Thomas Pfaff was terrific off of the bench."
Despite putting four players in double figures the Bisons hit only 38.6 percent for the game while holding Evansville to 38.5 percent from the field. In the second half the Bisons were 9-of-26 from the field for 34.6 percent. Evansville hit 8-of-28 attempts for a 28.6 percent rate.
"We still haven't shot the ball well," Sanderson said. "We keep winning because of defense. We were down by five with a minute to go against Tusculum and we were down three with two minutes to go against Evansville.
"We are a good shooting team. We just haven't shot the ball particularly well. Defense is going to win games for you. If we can get some shots to start dropping for us we could really be playing well."
Jason Holsinger led Evansville with 15 points. Matt Webster added 13.
The Bisons have little time to relax. They are taking Tuesday off before flying to Missouri Thursday night. Sunday afternoon the Bisons are on the road at South Carolina.