Nov. 9, 2006
A college basketball game is 40 minutes long, but 11 minutes meant everything for the Lipscomb Bisons basketball team.
The Bisons went up 2-0 in exhibition games beating Harding University 81-63 at Allen Arena Thursday night.
Down by three points to Harding University, an NCAA Division II program, the Bisons decided to overcome a 54-51 deficit.
In those final 11 minutes the Bisons outscored Harding 29-9, stopping them from the field from the 10:34 mark to 2:56 of the second half.
"We gave up six points in the first 12 minutes and the last 11 minutes of the game we gave up nine points," Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. "It was the middle part of the game where it kind of got away defensively and they started rolling a little bit offensively. I thought in the first 12 minutes and the last 11 we were pretty good."
The most impressive part of that final 11 minutes was that the Bisons prevailed without the services of Eddie Ard, projected by many preseason guides to be the top player in the Atlantic Sun. Ard fouled out of the game with 8:32 left to play.
"I don't like Eddie sitting by me," Sanderson said. "I don't need any help on the bench. I need Eddie playing. We all know what kind of player Eddie is, but give the other guys credit for going on a major run. I told our players at the 11-minute mark we were going to find out what we were made out of."
The Bisons opened with the first field goal in the game and never trailed in the first half, building up a 37-28 lead at the half, after leading by as many as 19 points with 8:15 left before intermission.
Harding went to work early in the second half, chipping away chunks of the Bisons lead. They pulled within four points when a 3-pointer by Rick Hamilton trimmed the Lipscomb advantage to 47-43.
Harding took its first lead of the game at 51-50 on a lay-up by Reggie Bibb with 11:55 on the clock. The biggest lead for Harding was 54-51 at that crucial 10:34 mark when the Bisons reawakened.
"Brian, Trey, Jason and Michael Lusk all stepped up," Sanderson said. "I would think all year long we will have at least four guys in double figures. It may not be the same four guys. It is good to have balance."
Matt Hall was the only player in double figures for Harding with 25 points.
"Harding kept battling," Sanderson said. "I know why they are picked to win their league. They are very talented. They don't get rattled. They play very poised."
The Bisons shot 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field while holding Harding to 32.8 percent (19-of-58).
Harding sent the Bisons to the line for 30 free throws. The Bisons hit 24, good for 80 percent. Harding made 20-of-23 free throws.
The Bisons also held the edge on the boards by a 42-34 margin after being out-rebounded 20-17 at the half.
The Bisons open the season Saturday at 2 p.m. at Allen Arena against Tusculum, an old foe from the NAIA days that plays on the NCAA Division II level.
"Tusculum is very athletic," Sanderson said. "They were down eight points at the half at Tennessee. They have some size and quickness. If we are going to be the team we want to be we can't overlook them."