Slater drops 35; Bisons best ETSU 85-84 in overtime
JOHNSON CITY – Going into Saturday’s game against ETSU, no current Lipscomb Bison had ever experienced beating the Bucs in Johnson City.
It took 45 minutes, but that changed as the Bisons went blow-for-blow with ETSU in an 85-84 victory.
Junior Josh Slater scored 30 of his career-high 35 points after halftime and sophomore Jordan Burgason hit a 19-footer with 4.5 seconds left in overtime to give the Bisons the win. Junior center Adnan Hodzic dominated the low post with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
In a game where the score was tied nine times and the lead changed ten times, it seemed like the outcome could go either way.
Lipscomb jumped out to an 8-2 lead behind 3-pointers by freshman Zack Brown and Burgason. The six-point advantage would be Lipscomb’s largest of the game.
A 16-2 run by the Bucs gave them an 18-10 lead 5:35 into the contest. With the Bisons down eight, Burgason started a 7-0 Lipscomb run to make it 24-23 halfway through the first period.
Hodzic made a layup four minutes later to put the Bisons up one, 27-26. Isiah Brown hit the front end of two free throws with 54 seconds left in the first to send the Bucs into the locker room with a 33-30 lead.
ETSU opened the second half with layups on their first three possessions including an old-fashion 3-point play by Micah Williams to put the Bucs up 40-32.
With threes by Slater and Burgason, the Bisons fought back to make it a 42-41 contest just under four minutes into the half.
The Bisons wouldn’t be able to tie it until Slater connected on two free throws at the 11:45 mark to make it 54-54. Justin Tubbs gave the lead back to ETSU with a three on the next possession.
A small 6-0 run by ETSU capped by a 3-pointer by Lukas Poderis, the first of his career, gave the Bucs their largest lead of the game, nine points (67-58), with 6:17 left.
Slater was fouled while shooting a trey on the next possession. He went to the line connecting on all three of his attempts and starting a 12-0 Lipscomb run. He also hit a three on the Bisons’ next possession.
With Lipscomb up by three, ETSU his three free throws and Tommy Hubbard hit a jumper to take a 72-70 lead with 3:09 left. Slater tied the game up with two free throws on the next play.
Neither team scored until Jocolby Davis made the second of two free throws to put the Bucs back up on top with 1:21 left.
Slater went to the line with an opportunity to put Lipscomb back on top with 1:00 left in regulation, but he only made the first of two attempts.
After a missed shot by ETSU, the Bisons opted to hold for the last shot. Slater missed a 3-point attempt with about two seconds remaining forcing overtime.
ETSU scored the first five points of overtime with a 3-pointer by Tubbs and a dunk by Brown.
Slater hit his fourth 3-pointer of the afternoon with 3:49 left, but ETSU extended its lead to four on a layup by Poderis.
Burgason missed a three on the other end, but it was rebounded by Hodzic who was fouled sending him to the line for two shots. He made both attempts.
Slater would tie the game at 80 with 1:06 left on a layup off a miss by Hodzic. Hubbard hit two free throws with 39.2 seconds left to put the Bucs back up by two.
Burgason quickly hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 27 seconds left to give the Bisons their first lead of the extra period, 83-82.
Hubbard made a layup with 19.9 seconds left to put ETSU up by one.
As time began to tick away, Burgason caught the ball in the corner in front of the Lipscomb bench. He pumped faked a three and dribbled a step left before draining a jumper from a foot inside the 3-point line with 4.5 seconds remaining.
ETSU got the ball down the court, but a three at the buzzer by Tommy Hubbard hit the side of the rim giving the Bisons the huge victory.
Lipscomb moved into sole possession of second place, one-half game back of Jacksonville.
Lipscomb had lost eight of their last nine meetings against ETSU, including four straight inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Lipscomb’s sole win against ETSU on road was a 56-54 win on Dec. 3, 2005.
Slater’s 35 points were the most by a Bison this year. The tally tied Eddie Ard (1/3/08 at Campbell) for the second most points by a Bison since Lipscomb joined the NCAA.
Slater finished 10-of-22 from the field, four-of-12 from the three, and 11-of-14 from the charity line. He had nine rebounds, six assists, and two steals.
It was Hodzic’s second consecutive double-double and fifth of the season. He extended his streak of scoring in double-figures to 48 games, the longest active streak in the nation.
Lipscomb shot 27-of-63 from the field for 42.9 percent. The Bisons were 10-of-30 from beyond the arc and 21-of-32 (65.6 percent) from the free throw line.
ETSU was 32-of-70 from the field for 45.7 percent. The Bucs were 6-of-25 (24 percent) from downtown and 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) from the free throw line.
ETSU held a 47-40 advantage on the boards. Hodzic’s 12 paced the Bisons. Hubbard grabbed 13 for ETSU while Brown had 10.
Hubbard had a team-high 22 points for the Bucs. Brown and Tubbs had 16 each while Williams added 13.
Lipscomb will spend Sunday braving the snowy roads on their way to Buies Creek, N.C. The Bisons face Campbell Monday evening at 7 p.m. CT. The game can be heard on the Lipscomb Sports Network beginning with the Countdown to Tipoff at approximately 6:40 p.m.