Jan. 7, 2007
The Lipscomb Bisons found themselves with their backs against the wall and they came out shooting.
The Bisons shot a season-high 62.3 percent from the field in the second half and a season-high 53.2 percent from the field for the game in a 79-68 win over Stetson University Sunday afternoon in an Atlantic Sun Conference game at Allen Arena.
It was the 16th straight win at Allen Arena for the Bisons, the 11th longest home winning streak in NCAA Division I. The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Bisons, all on the road, including A-Sun games at Kennesaw State and ETSU.
"I liked where our focus was," Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. "Even though we got beat at Kennesaw State and ETSU I liked our focus. We seem to play better a lot of times when we feel like our back is against the wall. We need to get back in this race."
The Bisons are 9-7 overall, 3-2 in the A-Sun. Stetson slipped to 5-9, 1-3 in the conference.
The Bisons changed their starting line-up with center Jason Hopkins starting for the first time since the fourth game of the season and guard LaKory Daniels starting for the first time since game seven.
Hopkins responded with a season-high 10 points, hitting four-of-five from the field. He also led the Bisons in rebounding with six which also tied him for the game high. Daniels hit a pair of 3-pointers and was credited with five assists and one steal.
"We just wanted to try to shake things up a little bit and get a different feel," Sanderson said.
Lipscomb forward Eddie Ard, the preseason pick for player of the year in the Atlantic Sun, Ard scored a game-high 25 points, tying his season high set previously Jan. 2 at Kennesaw State. He has 24 or more points in four of his last five games and the last three in a row.
Ard was especially strong in the second half, scoring 14 of his points.
"Eddie shot the three and drove to the hole," Sanderson said. "He has played well. In the last three of four games he has gone to another level. If he would rebound more I would really like him a lot."
The Bisons opened quickly with a 10-2 run to set the tone for the afternoon. Stetson never tied or led in the game. The Bisons led by as many as 13 points in the first half, taking a 36-28 advantage into the dressing room.
In the second half their biggest lead was 17 on three different occasions, the last at 65-48 with 6:32 left to play on a 3-pointer by Ard.
Stetson rallied late cutting the Bisons lead to nine points at 71-62 with 2:07 left. The smallest lead for the Bisons was eight points (73-65) with 1:13 remaining.
"Stetson never quits," Sanderson said. "You never feel like there is a lead that is big enough against them. They always continue to come back and make big shots."
The Bisons played the second half without the services of senior guard Brian Fisk. He left the game with 5:51 left in the first half with an ankle injury. His status is listed as day-to-day.
In addition to Ard and Hopkins, point guard Trey Williams also scored in double figures with 16.
"We have had some good looks from guys who haven't been making shots," Sanderson said. "We need those guys to start dropping some shot to take some pressure off of Brian, Eddie and Trey.
"I thought Michael Teller and LaKory stepped up. I thought Jason was good. He was very active. Our post players are getting better."
Stetson shot 44.7 percent from the field, hitting 21-of-47 shots. From 3-point range Stetson was 9-of-22, a 40.9 percent success rate. Sanderson was happy with what he saw from the Bisons defensively.
"We wanted to really defend people," Sanderson said. "We wanted to get down and guard them. In the first half I really liked our defense. We were really after them. They struggled a little bit attacking our zone in the second half so we stayed with it."
Garfield Blair and Kris Thomas each scored 11 points for Stetson. Gabe McMillen and Tim Lang scored 10 apiece. Blair and J.J. Hirst each grabbed six rebounds.
Sanderson likes Sunday afternoon games. The win was a positive start for a busy week. Classes start Monday for the Spring semester. The Bisons are back on the court Tuesday night when Mercer visits Allen Arena at 7.
Friday they travel to Belmont for the first round of the "Battle of the Boulevard". The game, which will be televised by CSS, starts at 6:30 p.m.