Feb. 1, 2007
Bouncing back from a tough home loss against ETSU, the Bisons used a stifling defense to pick up their sixth consecutive victory over Mercer University 62-50 in Macon, Georgia.
After only holding one team this year to under 40 percent shooting from the field, the Bisons set a team goal before Thursday's game to hold Mercer under 40 percent shooting. The Bisons did not just hold the Bears to under 40 percent shooting, but rather held Mercer to under 30 percent from the field for the game. Mercer was 16-of-27 from the field for 28.1 percent, and was just 2-of-19 from behind the three-point line for 10.5 percent.
"That is just a critical stat," Head Coach Scott Sanderson said. "Field goal defense, we have harped on it all week long, I wrote it on the board, our players have seen it everyday. They were very good today."
In the first half, the Bisons jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but then saw Mercer jump out to a 6-4 lead with 16:32 after a 6-0 run. The Bisons regained the lead 8-6 with 15:26 to go in the first half, and stretched the lead to five points at 24-19 with 6:17 to go in the half.
Mercer then answered the Bisons in the final six minutes of the first half with another 6-0 run, and the Bears took the lead 25-24 with 2:31 on two free throws by James Florence. With :32 seconds to go in the first half, guard Michael Lusk jumped in front of a Shaddean Aarron pass and took it coast-to-coast for the lay-up to give the Bisons the lead going into halftime 26-25.
In the second half, the Bisons kept the pressure on the Bears defensively, and Lipscomb's offense started to wear down the Bears.
"We finally started to make some shots," Sanderson said. "When you are struggling the way we were shooting the basketball, you have got to score some points off of your defense. That is easy baskets, transition baskets, getting steals, and we did that. Sometimes that really helps your head. Just by getting a lay-up off of a steal in transition really helps your head, and I thought we did some of that in the second half."
The Bisons scored the first four points of the second half, and stretched the lead out to 10 points with 16:24 to go after a three-pointer by Eddie Ard. Ard, held to just two points in the first half, scored nine points in the second half to reach double figures for the nineteenth time this season.
While Ard reached double figures for the nineteenth time this year, the Bisons held A-Sun leading scorer James Florence under double figures for just the first time in 19 straight games. Florence, averaging 19.5 points a game, scored just 9 points.
"We maintained our effort defensively to hold Florence to three-for-16 and 0-for-six from the three," Sanderson said. "I thought Brian Fisk did a great job on him."
The largest lead in the game for the Bisons came at the 12:12 mark with the Bisons up by 15 points 51-36. The closest Mercer would get the rest of the game was 10 points.
After not playing in the first match up against Mercer this year due to an injury, senior Brian Fisk made up for himself with a game high 19 points. Fisk scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half.
"Brian is a big-time competitor," Sanderson said. "He is a guy that is a warrior, and he hasn't played as well, as consistently as he is capable as doing, but I would not trade him for anybody in our league. He did a lot of things for us to win a lot of games in his career."
Thomas Pfaff also reached double figures for the Bisons on the backboards by registering a career high 12 rebounds in the game.
"I thought Thomas came in and gave us a big lift rebounding the basketball, and had a couple of buckets," Sanderson said. "Brian had a couple, and Eddie almost gets a double-double.
The Bisons shot 24-of-56 from the field for 42.9 percent, seven-of-23 from behind the arc for 30.4 percent, and 7-of-12 from the charity stripe for 58.3 percent.
Shaddean Aaron led the way for the Bears with a team high 16 points. Brian Pfohl was the only other Bear in double figures with 10 points.
"It was very important that we win down here, and now we have beaten them twice," Sanderson said. "Every game you win, the next game becomes that much bigger."
The Bisons will now travel to Deland, Florida to take on the Stetson Hatters on Saturday night with game time set for 6:00 CST.
"We need to go over there and play extremely well," Sanderson said. "I hope we can go over there and get a win on Saturday night."
You can catch all the action live on WKDA AM-900 beginning at 5:45 CST or online at lipscombsports.com.