TUCSON, Ariz. – It was a game that took 45 minutes to play, but less than one-tenth of a second determined which team would leave the arena with a win in the record column.
After about five minutes of reviewing on a courtside monitor whether Arizona’s Nic Wise’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was released before time expired, the Pac-10 officiating crew determined the shot was good giving Arizona the 83-82 overtime win against Lipscomb at the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona.
Lipscomb (4-7) played their best game of the season against an Arizona (5-5) squad picked to finished fourth in the Pac-10 conference.
“We hung in there and grew up as a team tonight,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “We kept battling and battling through adverse situations.”
Junior center Adnan Hodzic was stellar for the Bisons. He finished with a career high 34 points on 14-of-21 shooting. Hodzic also grabbed a season high 13 rebounds, one off his career mark.
“I was just a little extra focused,” Hodzic said. “My uncle died (on Monday) and he and I were close. I wanted to dedicate this game to him. I just wanted to do what I can to help the team to win. It doesn't matter how many points I scored. It was just an exciting game.''
He scored 13 of Lipscomb’s first 18 points to open the contest. A jumper in the paint at the 10:40 mark in the first half gave Lipscomb an 18-17 lead which they would hold onto for the next 24 minutes.
“He’s good as advertised,” said Sanderson. “He can score on just about everybody down in the low post. He was terrific again today.”
The Bisons took a 34-30 lead into the locker room. Hodzic hit two free throws and nailed a jumper to open the second period and give Lipscomb an eight-point lead, its largest of the game, with 17:10 left.
Arizona took the lead back after a 6-0 run to take a 54-52 lead with 6:44 left in regulation. Arizona, which reached the Sweet 16 last year, held the lead for the rest of the second period except nine seconds after Hodzic hit a jumper with 2:10 left.
Wise hit two free throws with 11.2 seconds on the clock to put Arizona up three. The Wildcats, who had only been whistled for two fouls in the second half to Lipscomb’s 13, fouled three consecutive times trying to force Lipscomb into the bonus and to the free throw line.
Sanderson called his last timeout with 7.8 seconds left. Arizona did not foul coming out of the timeout and Brian Wright drained a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds to tie the game at 69 forcing overtime. Wright finished with 15 points and shot four-of-six from the 3-point line.
Arizona’s Lamont Jones hit three consecutive long-balls to open overtime. Wright, Jordan Burgason, and Johnny Lee each responded with 3-pointers and Adnan Hodzic hit the front end of two free throws to give Lipscomb a 79-78 lead with 32.8 seconds remaining in the extra period.
Wise fouled Hodzic to send him to the line for a one-an-one attempt with 4.7 seconds left. He hit the first attempt, but missed the second which was rebounded by Arizona and quickly pushed up the court for Wise’s three.
Lipscomb outrebounded Arizona 37-31. Hodzic had six offensive boards as part of his team-high 13. Derrick Williams led Arizona with nine rebounds.
Sanderson switched up his starting lineup giving the nod to Johnny Lee and Jordan Burgason replacing Josh Slater and Brandon Brown.
Burgason struggled from the field shooting 2-of-11, but finished with a strong stat line of eight points, five rebounds, five assists (one turnover) and one steal.
The Bisons were whistled for 27 fouls to Arizona’s 15. Arizona was 26-of-36 from the free throw line led by Wise who was 12-of-12 and finished with 26 points. Lipscomb was 11-of-15 from the charity stripe.
Lipscomb used a constant mix of defenses to keep Arizona at bay.
“We mixed it up between man and zone which kept them off balance,” Sanderson said. “I liked out we played defensively.”
The Bisons will return to their respective homes Tuesday for Christmas before returning to practice Sunday evening. Lipscomb does not play until Jan. 2 when they host Stetson in Allen Arena.
“If we take this and learn from it, tonight’s game will be a great learning experience,” Sanderson said. “To play in this kind of environment and to make plays late in the game to give us a shot to win will do nothing but help us.”