Nov. 19, 2006
It could have been a great story.
A former college basketball player returns to his alma mater coaching an underdog team that pulls off the upset.
It almost was a great story.
But in the end the Lipscomb Bisons fell 75-68 at South Carolina of the Southeastern Conference at the Colonial Center in Columbia. Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson, who played basketball for South Carolina and graduated in 1984, also had a family reunion of sorts with his brother, Barry, an assistant coach at South Carolina.
For much of the game it looked like the Bisons, who are 2-2 on the season, might write that great story.
The Bisons, thanks to hot shooting from 3-point range, jumped out to an 11-2 lead to start the game. With 6:41 left in the half the Bisons built their largest lead of the game at 28-14.
But South Carolina started chipping away at that lead, pulling to within four points at 33-29 at intermission with a 15-5 run in the final six minutes.
"We played well and got some good shots in, but I think we lost the game in the last three minutes of the first half," Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. "We allowed South Carolina to make a lot of shots and then they came out and scored first in the second half."
The Bisons hit 7-of-15 3- point shots in the first half while South Carolina was 1-of-6.
"We're a good shooting team but haven't shot particularly well this season," Sanderson said. "It was important for us to get off to a quick start and make shots. It gives our guys confidence. We did that today, but came up short at the end."
Defensively, the Bisons also put together a strong first half effort, forcing South Carolina into seven turnovers which they turned into nine points. South Carolina came into the game averaging seven turnovers.
South Carolina tied the game at 33-33 with 18:55 left to play. South Carolina led for the first time in the game at 35-34.
Lipscomb point guard Trey Williams kept the Bisons close hitting 3-point shots in the second half. He finished with seven on 13 attempts for the game on the way to a career-high and game-high 24 points.
With the game tied at 55-55 South Carolina went on a 9-0 scoring run to take a 64-55 lead with 2:12 left to play, South Carolina was almost flawless at the free throw line down the stretch which iced the game.
Brian Fisk scored 16 points for the Bisons.
South Carolina place four players in double figures. Dominique Archie and Brandon Wallace each had 20 points, career highs for both players. Brandis Raley-Ross tied his career high with 17 points. Tre Kelley chipped in with 16 points.
"That was one of the great wins since I've been here (at South Carolina)," South Carolina coach Dave Odom said. "Lipscomb is probably the best team in the country nobody knows.
"If they keep playing basketball like that, they'll gain the reputation they richly deserve. They are well coached, and have as good a backcourt as we're going to see this year."
South Carolina is 3-1 this season. This was the first of three stops for the Bisons at SEC schools. They visit Vanderbilt on Dec. 7 and travel to Alabama Dec. 29.
The Bisons spent some extra time in South Carolina allowing Sanderson to meet with family and friends.
""It was exciting to get back and see some people I haven't seen in a long time," Sanderson said. "I haven't been back in awhile so it's always nice to come back. I never really thought that I would come back and be coaching against South Carolina; but it was nice, especially seeing the campus because it's definitely changed since I've been here."
He spent time with Barry over the weekend, but said they never discussed the game.
"It actually never came up," Sanderson said. "We've been around each other for the past couple of days, but the game never came up. It probably will in the next few days, but more because he's another pair of eyes that have seen my team and I'm the same for him."
The next game for the Bisons is at 2 p.m. Saturday at Allen Arena when Fisk visits.