MACON, Ga. – It was a career night for several Lipscomb players as the Bisons opened Atlantic Sun Conference action with a 98-89 victory against the Mercer Bears Thursday evening in the University Center.
Sophomore Jordan Burgason hit eight 3-points scoring 31 points, both career highs. He becomes the sixth Bison since Lipscomb moved to the NCAA to score 30 or more points in a game.
“I thought Jordan was terrific off the bench,” said Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson. “Not only did he shoot the ball well, but he was solid defensively and had six rebounds.”
Junior Josh Slater also tallied a career-high with 24 points. He finished with six assists and three steals in 32 minutes of action.
Preseason all-conference selection Adnan Hodzic scored 25 points and barely missed third double-double of the season finishing with nine boards. The junior was 10-of-11 from the field and five-of-six from the free throw line.
“We were just efficient offensive,” said Sanderson. “We kept on finding Jordan and he hit the big shots for us, Josh got some big shots for us, and Adnan scored some down in the low post.”
Sophomore Brian Wright finished with a season-high 13 points and had seven rebounds. Freshman Milos Kleut scored his first two points as a Bison and grabbed two boards in seven minutes of action off the bench.
Freshman guard Jacob Arnett delivered a solid performance off the bench for the Bisons with four rebounds and three assists with no turnovers in 11 minutes of action.
“I thought Jacob played great off the bench,” said Sanderson. “He played 11 minutes, three assists, no turnovers, and four rebounds. He did a great job defensively.”
“I also thought that Milos was really, really good. He had a bucket and two rebounds in seven minutes of play. I thought those minutes in the first half were a big help to us.”
A 3-pointer by Burgason and a layup by Slater put Lipscomb up 17-10 with 12:43 left in the first. Mercer worked the game back over the next three minutes to tie it at 20.
Hodzic scored on a layup to put the Bisons back up by two before former Lipscomb player Brandon Moore started a 14-2 run for Mercer with a layup at the 8:43 mark.
Mercer’s largest lead was a 34-22 advantage with 6:50 left. The Bisons were able to tighten the gap and make it a 45-38 game at halftime. James Florence had 21 points at the break.
The Bisons opened the second half with five critical defensive stops and tied the game at 45.
With Lipscomb down 57-53 with 14:05 left, Jordan Burgason drained a 3-pointer to start a 17-2 run for the Bisons over the next 4:49.
Jeff Smith scored a layup for Mercer at the 9:16 mark but Burgason had a three-point play the hard way on the next possession draining three free throws after being fouled by Smith. It gave Lipscomb a 12-point lead, their largest of the night.
Mercer was able to come within six points, 80-76, when Florence hit a 3-pointer with 5:05 remaining.
Lipscomb reestablished an 11-point lead with 2:14 left after Wright scored on a layup and Hodzic had an old-fashion 3-point play.
Mercer’s Daniel Emerson hit a 3-pointer, Florence hit two free throws, and then Brian Mills dunked to accent a 7-0 run over 33 seconds for Mercer to make it an 88-84 game.
Slater scored seven straight points on two layups and three free throws to secure the Lipscomb victory.
The Bisons entered the game ninth in the A-Sun for free throw percentage hitting 62.7 percent of their attempts. Lipscomb shot 20-of-24 from the charity stripe against Mercer.
Lipscomb outrebounded Mercer 43-33. Mercer entered leading the conference in rebounding averaging 44 boards per contest.
“I’m proud of our guys for hanging in there tonight and I hope we grew up a little bit tonight,” said Sanderson.
Lipscomb continues conference action Saturday as the Bisons travel north to Kennesaw, Ga., to face Kennesaw State. Game time is 6:30 p.m. CST.
Jonathan Seamon and Benjamin Seamon call the action for the Lipscomb Sports Network. Free online audio streaming is available at www.LipscombSports.com/sportsnetwork/.