Nov. 13, 2005
LEXINGTON, Ky. _ The Lipscomb Bisons basketball team won its first season opener in five years with a 72-60 victory over Northern Colorado Sunday night in the first round of the Guardians Classic at Rupp Arena.
The prize for the victory? A meeting Monday night with the No. 9-ranked University of Kentucky Wildcats on their homecourt. Kentucky beat South Dakota State 71-54 in the nightcap.The winner goes to Kansas City, Mo., to play in the Guardians Classic championship.
"You have to be careful what you wish for," said Lipscomb Coach Scott Sanderson. "I grew up around the Southeastern Conference. There is great, great tradition here. It is an honor to get out there and play against them.
"They put their shoes on the same way that we do. I'm sure coaches have said that to their teams before they played Kentucky and then went out and got smacked by 30 points. We are going to go out and give an honest effort and compete at a high level.
"We need to enjoy this moment. That is extremely important."
Game time is 7 p.m. CST. ESPNU will televise the game live.
Kentucky will be the first team ranked in the top 10 in NCAA Division I that the Bisons have played. Based on their first exposure to Rupp Arena the atmosphere did not overwhelm them.
"I guess we won't really know until we play Kentucky," said Lipscomb guard Brian Fisk. "There weren't as many people here for our game. Monday this place will be jam-packed. It's going to be a different feel. We are going to come out and play hard and hopefully get a win."
Lipscomb forward Eddie Ard, however, definitely felt a little bit in awe as he looked up at the 23,000-seat arena.
"I've been watching Kentucky on television since I was small." said Ard. "As soon as you walk out on the court and the lights hit you and you look up in the stands you are kind of in awe for awhile as you warm up. I can't really describe the feeling of getting the opportunity to play here. It is feeling I will remember for the rest of my life."
The Bisons scored the first points of the game against Northern Colorado on a jumper shot by Fisk. Northern Colorado would never tie or lead the Bisons in the game.
The Bisons biggest lead in the first half was 15 points at 32-17 on a layup by Fisk with 3:39 left. In the final 5:30 minutes of the game the Bisons never led by less than nine points, again holding a 15-point advantage with 20 seconds left.
At the half the Bisons held a 39-28 lead after 56.7 percent from the field. The Bisons shot 51.7 percent for the game.
Northern Colorado guard Sean Taibi scored a game-high 20 points, hitting six-of-eight shots from 3-point range. Center Kirk Archibeque finished with a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Northern Colorado shot only 37.5 percent from the floor.
"When you hold a team to 37 percent from the floor you have a chance to win a lot of games," said Sanderson. "We also forced 20 turnovers. For our first game I'm pleased with the win, but we still have a lot to work on."
The Bisons were out-rebounded 37-31, an area of concern for Sanderson.
"We are a better rebounding team than that," said Sanderson. "Rebounds are going to be hard to come by against Kentucky."
Ard expects the Bisons to come into the game with Kentucky with a high level of momentum.
"We are playing against one of the better teams in the country," said Ard. "That gives you instant momentum. You don't get an opportunity like this everyday. We need to jump on it."