Feb. 17, 2007
Lipscomb guard Brian Fisk made the most of his last game in Allen Arena.
Fisk scored a game-high 18 points and made a game-high five assists as the Bisons edged Gardner-Webb 59-57 in the last home regular season Atlantic Sun game on a snowy Saturday afternoon.
Fisk, point guard Trey Williams and guard JanAndre Williams were all honored prior to the start of the game in celebration of "Senior Day". Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson admitted it was an emotional afternoon.
"There are a lot of guys who have put us on the map in Division I, but he is the main guy as far as being the heartbeat of our team in willing us to win," Sanderson said. "He has been like a son to me. I can him anyway I want to coach him.
"We ask him to do so much. We ask him to score. We ask him to guard the best guy on the other team. We also ask him not to get tired. I got teary-eyed when he came by the office the other day."
Sanderson also credits the Williams brothers for their contributions to the team.
"Jan hasn't played a whole lot," Sanderson said. "He is a great person. He has been a walk-on and role player on our team. He has been a major asset to our team, more so in practice than anywhere else.
"Trey has been an invaluable leader at the point guard spot. He takes care of the basketball. His assist to turnover ratio is very, very good. He shot the ball well early in the year. I trust him in late game situations to make the right decision."
The Bisons shot only 36.4 percent from the floor, hitting 20-of-55 shots. They were five-of-23 from the 3-point arc, 21.7 percent.
"We are good shooting team, but we haven't shot the ball the last couple of games," Sanderson said. "We are getting wide-open looks. We have just missed them. You have to take your open shots. Eventually, they will go in. It's hard to win when you aren't shooting well.
"The margin of error against Gardner-Webb is very small. There are not a lot of possessions. They are going to run the clock down. They spread the floor out so much because they are a terrific shooting team. We were very fortunate to win."
The key to the game was the Bisons free throw shooting. They hit 14-of-15 attempts, including six in the final 3:37.
Gardner-Webb hit 18-of-42 shots from the field, a 42.9 percent success rate and 10-of-21 from 3-point range, 47.6 percent. From the free throw line Gardner-Webb was 11-of-19, 57.9 percent.
The Bisons held a 28-26 lead the half. Their biggest lead in the second half was 38-30 with 15:28 left to play on a tip-in by center Thomas Pfaff.
But Gardner-Webb was never far away. They went on an 8-2 run to turn a 49-43 Bisons advantage into a 51-51 tie 3:36 remaining.
Gardner-Webb took the lead at 56-55 on a 3-point shot by Takayo Siddle with 2:02 left. The Bisons came right back with a lay-up by center Jason Hopkins for a 57-56 edge with 1:48 on the clock.
The Bisons made a key steal with 10 seconds left when Williams and Fisk took the ball away from Siddle.
With the Bisons leading 59-56 with six seconds left guard Michael Lusk fouled Siddle. He made the first shot and missed the second with Gardner-Webb getting the rebound with one second left.
"I don't like these kinds of games," Sanderson said of the Bisons wins over Campbell and Gardner-Webb this week. "But winning these kinds of games is good for you when you get into tournament play. Right now, when the game is close we feel like we are supposed to win. You can't simulate that in practice.
"Every possession is big. Every stop is big. We made enough plays down the stretch the last two games to win. That is a credit to our players. Trey and Brian have been around a long time and even when we don't play well they know how to make plays and win games."
Also in double figures for the Bisons was forward Eddie Ard with 12 points. Hopkins led the Bisons in rebounds with eight.
The Bisons held a 36-29 advantage on the boards which also helped them overcome a poor shooting performance.
"We had three offensive rebounds the first possession of the game, but didn't have any points to show for it," Sanderson said.
Gardner-Webb placed three players in double figures with Ricky McPhee coming off the bench to score 14 followed by Chris Gash with 11 and Siddle with 10. Gash also led Gardner-Webb in rebounding with eight.
The Bisons are 17-10, 11-5 in the Atlantic Sun with two road games with North Florida and Jacksonville remaining.
"Jacksonville is going to be very difficult," Sanderson said. "North Florida has played a lot of people very close. It is going to be dogfight the rest of the season."
Gardner-Webb slipped to 10-18, 8-9 in the conference.