The Bisons have won their last four games and six of their last eight. Jacksonville has won its last three. The tip-off at Veterans’ Memorial Arena is 6:15. The Bisons lead the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 5-1 record, 8-7 overall. Jacksonville is 3-3 in the A-Sun, 6-8 overall.
“Like most teams Jacksonville needs to win its home games,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “They are athletic. They have good size. And they have the ability to rebound the ball.”
They also have senior guard Ben Smith, averaging 19.6 points per game. He is third overall in the conference in scoring and leads in minutes played with 36.86 per game.
“They have one of the best players in the league in Ben Smith at the point guard spot,” Sanderson said. “He is a major challenge.
“He runs the team. They go as he goes. He is that vital to their team. He spearheads them offensively. He spearheads them defensively. He spearheads them in transition. He is very valuable to their team.”
Junior guard Travis Cohn averages 10.2 points per game. Junior forward Ayron Hardy is the rebounding leader for Jacksonville with 5.6.
The Bisons are coming off one of their worst offensive performances of the season in their 64-53 win over Belmont Monday night. They shot 36.7 percent from the field and 13 percent from 3-point range.
The Bisons lead the Atlantic Sun overall in scoring with 81.2 points per game. They are also first in assists (18.07), assist-to-turnover ration (1.14) and first in rebound margin (plus 3.3). They are second in 3-point field goal percentage (36.2) and 3-point field goals made (8.40).
“We didn’t play as good offensively as we usually do, but I think Belmont had a lot to do with that,” Sanderson said. “I really like the way we played for the most part defensively. We rebounded the ball better in the second half.
“We still have a lot of room for improvement. I am waiting for us to play defense like we played against Belmont and offense like we have played every night except the Belmont game.”
One of the best things that Sanderson saw in the Belmont game was the ability of his team to not get bogged down on the defensive end of the court when the offense sputtered.
“We got better defensively as the game went on,” Sanderson said. “Most of the time when you miss a bunch of shots you don’t defend as well. Can we withstand a bad shooting night on the road? I don’t know that.”
Junior center Adnan Hodzic is second overall in the A-Sun in scoring with 20.9 points per game. He is fifth in rebounding with 7.6 per game. Hodzic has scored in double figures in 42 straight games, the longest streak in the nation.
Junior guard Josh Slater is sixth in the conference with 15.3 points per game. Junior forward Brandon Brown averages 12.5 points per game, but his status is not known for this game. Sophomore guard Jordan Burgason averages 11.1 points per game.
“I thought we had decent shots against Belmont, but we just missed them,” Sanderson said. “The shots Adnan shot were ones he has made his whole like. He just missed them.”
The Bisons will follow the Jacksonville game with a visit to North Florida Saturday at 6.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations