Evansville offers challenges on offense and defense
Friday, December 15, 2006

Dec. 15, 2006

When Evansville's fans left Allen Arena Nov. 13 they immediately marked Dec. 16 on their calendars.

The Lipscomb Bisons beat Evansville 67-64 in November at Allen Arena. The two teams meet again Saturday night at 7:05 in Evansville for a rare home-and-home series against two non-conference teams.

"Evansville is looking forward to this game more than we are," Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said.

The Bisons may be without the services of senior point guard Trey Williams, who left the Nicholls State game with an ankle injury Thursday night. He practiced with the team, taking part in shooting drills Friday morning, but is questionable.

The Bisons come into the game with a 7-3 record. Evansville is 6-3. Their other two losses are to Miami and Missouri.

"Evansville is from the Missouri Valley Conference, one of the premier conferences in the country" Bisons assistant coach Hubie Smith said. "They are a very good team. When we beat them in November that was a big win for us."

Evansville averages 67 points per game. Evansville is a good shooting team, hitting 36 percent of their 3-point shots. They also shoot an average of nine more free throws than their opponents."

"They are not a team the runs the ball up and down the court," Smith said, "They are a precision team that really executes and plays a half-court game.

"They are very balanced inside and outside. Their two leading scorers are their post players, but two of their guards are two of the best shooters in the Missouri Valley Conference. They are a very well-coached team."

Defensively, Smith thinks Evansville has improved defensively. The Bisons will also have to play a top defensive game as well. Evansville is only allowing an average of 57 points a game while forcing an average of 17 turnovers a game.

"We have to play great half-court defense," Smith said. "Our game against Evansville was probably the one game where we played 40 minutes of good defense.

"We have to do a great job on the boards. And we have to keep them off of the free throw line. We also have to do a better job of executing our offense."

The Bisons close out their non-conference schedule this month with a visit to Liberty University Dec. 21. They stop at the University of Alabama Dec. 29.

"Our schedule is more difficult this year," Sanderson said. "We knew we are going to be a good basketball team. We knew we are going to do well in our league this year. So it didn't bother me to play a few more tougher teams.

"Our record may not be as good. But all that matters is three games in March in the conference tournament. Only one team in our league is going to the NCAA Tournament and we understand that."