Feb. 4, 2006
The Lipscomb Bisons stayed in first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference with an 83-66 win over Mercer University Saturday afternoon at the University Center in Macon, Ga.
Ironically, the final score was identical to the outcome against Mercer on Jan. 14 at Allen Arena. The win was the eighth in the last nine games for the Bisons. Mercer has lost three in a row.
"The focus of our guys has been very good," said Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson. "How we played this afternoon for the most part for 35 minutes is the type of character we have on our team. We played well enough down the stretch to get a great win."
The Bisons methodically built their advantage, leading by as many as 19 points in the first half. With guard Brian Fisk and forward Eddie Ard getting double-teamed the rest of the players responded offensively, something that did not happen their last time out against Belmont.
The Bisons trailed 21-20 in back-and-forth game with 9:20 left before intermission, but went on a 20-4 run to take a 15-point lead at 40-25.
It started out as a good news, bad news situation with the Bisons going cold from the field and Fisk being hit with two fouls before the first minute of the game had been played. He had only five first half points. But despite those difficulties the Bisons stayed in the game.
Ard, despite the double-teaming, set the pace in the first half with 18 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. Center Shaun Durant also scored in double figures in the first half with 10 points, hitting all five of his field goal attempts.
The Bisons took a 46-32 lead into the dressing room as Mercer scored the final five points of the half. Cameron Robinson put up a shot at the buzzer, but it was too late to count.
"I didn't like the way we ended the half," said Sanderson. "There was a momentum change. They were down there clapping their hands. They got some life. When you have a chance to clamp down on a team you have to clamp down on them."
In the second half Mercer pulled within eight at 56-48 at 13:34 as Mercer's Sam Dolan connected on field goal, was fouled by Cameron Robinson and hit the free throw. The eight-point difference was the smallest of the game.
Lipscomb guard James Poindexter, who had struggled from 3-point range, put in his first 3-pointer against Mercer's zone to give the Bisons a 59-48 lead at 13:39.
Ard picked up his third and fourth fouls, including a technical foul for slamming a ball down in frustration at 13:15. Mercer only hit one of the four free throws they attempted.
"I told the referees he was mad at himself," said Sanderson. "He is a humble kid. He wasn't reacting to the referees."
Poindexter, scoreless in the first half hit his second 3-pointer at 12:20 for a 62-49 Bisons lead. Guard LaKory Daniels added a 3-pointer for a 65-51 Bisons lead, the same advantage they held at halftime.
Poindexter gave the Bisons a 17-point lead at 68-51 on his third 3-point goal of the second half.
"James had a couple of deep threes when they were zoning us," said Sanderson. "And Brian knocked down two or three in a row."
At 9:42 Fisk picked up his fourth foul and joined Ard on the bench. Both returned in the final minutes.
"When those guys are on the bench we are trying to slow it down a little bit and eat the clock to shorten up the game a little bit," said Sanderson.
The Bisons held a 21-point lead, the biggest of the game at that point, with a 9-0 run at 80-59 with 3:38 left to play on two free throws by Poindexter.
With 2:09 left the Bisons held a 22-point lead, 82-60, the biggest of the game.
The Bisons, who shot 50 percent from the field (29-of-58), placed four players in double figures. Ard led the Bisons in scoring with a game-high 23 points, two short of his season and career high. Fisk tied the NCAA era record for consecutive games in double figures with 16 as he scored Lorenzo Withrite set the record during the 2000-2001 season. Durant chipped in with 12 and also had nine rebounds. Poindexter finished with 11 points, all in the second half.
Daniels scored a season-high six points. Guard Brandon Hartwell did not dress for the game.
"LaKory is getting better, better and better," said Sanderson. "He did a good job defensively. He made a couple of shots. He looks a little more comfortable out there. And we are going to need him."
Mercer, shooting 41.3 percent from the field, was led by Andrew Brown with 14 points.
The Bisons held a 44-34 advantage on the boards.
The Bisons are 14-7 overall, 10-3 in the A-Sun. Mercer is 5-15 overall, 4-10 in the conference.
Monday night the Bisons are in DeLand, Fla., to take on Stetson. The Bisons have not won on the road against the Hatters.
"Stetson is a big, strong physical team," said Sanderson. "They are trying to get in the upper echelon of the league."