Dec. 6, 2007
"Home for the Holidays" is not the song the Lipscomb Bisons basketball team will be singing in December and early January.
The Bisons closed out a three-game homestand Monday night with a 66-58 win over Arkansas Tech at Allen Arena. They won't play another game at home until Jan. 12 when Belmont visits for the first installment this season of the "Battle of the Boulevard".
The series of seven road games starts this Saturday night at 8 when the Bisons make the short trip to Vanderbilt. The game at Memorial Gym will be seen live on CSS with Willy Daunic handling the play-by-play along with his former Vanderbilt teammate Bruce Elder, who will be the color analyst.
"We have a hard time getting home games," said Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson. "Playing on the road is the world we live in.
"Having so many games at home may have an impact on our record. That is totally irrelevant. I want to focus on getting better every single day and every single possession. Playing so many games on the road, especially with a young team, is scary. We play more road games than any team in our league."
The Bisons have won their last three games, all in Allen Arena, and enter the Vanderbilt game with a 4-5 record. Vanderbilt is 8-0.
"We have gotten a little bit better every game," said Sanderson. "I'm proud of our guys as far as their progress is concerned. Our job as coaches is to continuously raise the bar. Sometimes that is hard to do with young players."
Freshman forward Brandon Brown has been the leader for the Bisons this season with 9.1 rebounds per game. He is third in the Atlantic Sun Conference in rebounds. His 16 rebounds against Samford Nov. 26 marks a single-game season high in the conference. He scored a game-high and season-high 19 points against Arkansas Tech and also grabbed 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
"Brandon has stepped up his level of play," Sanderson said. "He weighs 150 pounds with a brick in his pocket. He is not very big at all. But he gets so many rebounds a game because he goes hard to the basket every single time.
"No matter what we do offensively or defensively Brandon knows how to do it. He is a freshman. I will do the job of keeping him humble. But he has been a major asset for us."
Senior forward Eddie Ard has struggled this season, but still averages 13.1 points per game, 18th best in the league. Ard spent long hours in the gym working on his own during the summer. He also spent time playing in China with a team that included a number of SEC players.
"Eddie has not gotten off to a very good start," Sanderson said. "He has lost his confidence a little bit. He is trying to work his way through it.
"He worked so hard this summer. It is going to happen for him."
Ard came off the bench to play against Arkansas Tech. He scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 27 minutes.
"Sometimes sitting on the bench makes your thought process speed up in a hurry," Sanderson said. "He got his thought process going the right way against Arkansas Tech. He is going to get better. Once he gets going it will be really good for us.
"He put a lot of pressure on himself early in the year. Now he is seeing how the young kids are playing, how Brandon, LaKory Daniels and Michael Lusk are playing and how our big kids are playing and that takes some of the pressure off of him."
Freshman point guard Jimmy Oden was back on the court against Arkansas Tech. He is expected to be ready for Vanderbilt.