Nov. 20, 2005
AUBURN, Ala. _ The buzz about the Lipscomb Bisons basketball team had been heard loud and clear here in the loveliest village on the plains.
The talk around Toomer's Corner, when it didn't center on Auburn football, was that the hometown Tigers might be in for their first season-opening defeat after seven straight years of wins.
But the Bisons basketball team that earned the respect of the University of Kentucky Monday night in a 67-49 loss in the Guardians Classic at Rupp Arena was not the one that faced Auburn Sunday afternoon in front of 2,818 fans at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
"We weren't very good on either end of the floor," said Lipscomb Coach Scott Sanderson. "We weren't very good offensively. We weren't very good defensively. We weren't very good in transition. We weren't very good rebounding. We didn't take care of the ball. We didn't do anything very good at all."
The Bisons struggled in every aspect of the game, but still managed to keep the game close before dropping a 69-54 decision.
Auburn shot 50 percent from the field in the first half (14-of-28), including 57.1 percent from 3-point range (8-of-14). For the game Auburn shot 44.3 percent from the field and 48.1 percent from 3-point range.
Auburn was 12-of-27 from 3-point land.
Three Auburn players scored in double figures _ Ronny LeMelle with a game-high 19, including 15 points on 3-pointers; Rasheem Barrett with 13, nine from 3-pointers; and Daniel Hayles with 10. "Auburn had too many open shots," said Sanderson. "When you can count the seams on the ball shooting 3-point shots you should make those. They had a bunch of wide open threes. That was the worst display of defense I have ever seen."
The Bisons spotted Auburn too much too early. The Bisons needed almost five minutes to score their first point when Brian Fisk hit a free throw with 15:01 remaining in the first half to make the score 9-1. The first field goal for the Bisons was scored with 11:26 left in the first half when Robinson connected on a lay-up.
Eddie Ard came off the bench for the third straight game. He led the Bisons with 13 points, his third game to score in double figures. Robinson finished with 11 points.
Shaun Durant grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for the Bisons. Auburn's Josh Dollard hauled in 10. The Bisons were outrebounded for the second time in three games, losing the board battled 39-37.
The Bisons shot 29.6 from the field, hitting only seven-of-24 in the first half and nine-of-30 in the second. The Bisons were 5-of-25 from 3-point range, a 20 percent rate. The only bright spot was a 17-of-21 performance at the free throw line, an 81 percent success rate.
"The thing that bothered me the most is that I thought Auburn out-toughed us," said Sanderson. "Our inability to make shots doesn't bother me. Our inability to compete does bother me. That was not the same team that played Kentucky. That is my fault as a coach."
The Bisons are 1-2 heading into a Nov. 28 exhibition game at Allen Arena against Freed-Hardeman. Lipscomb's students are out of class this week for Thanksgiving, but the basketball team is not taking any days off.
"We'll have whole week of practice," said Sanderson. "We start league play December 1 at Kennesaw State. We have a lot of work to do."