Jan. 26, 2008
KENNESAW, Ga. _ The Lipscomb Bisons deserved a better fate.
Playing without four players, using an improvised line-up at times, the Bisons gave Kennesaw State all they had in a 79-72 at the Convocation Center Saturday night. Kennesaw State is not eligible for the Atlantic Sun Tournament this season and is not one of the conference teams the Bisons play twice this season.
Lipscomb's Bisons lost 79-72 Saturday night to host Kennesaw State in an Atlantic Sun game at the Convocation Center.
"It has become a mental thing," said Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson. "There is no other way around it. We have lost some close games. Our guys are getting frustrated and that is part of it.
"There are no easy ones in this league. We have to be ready to play every night."
It was a historical night for the Bisons, if not a winning one.
Senior forward Eddie Ard broke the 1,500-point barrier for his career. He needed only nine points. He scored 14. He is only one of two active players in the Atlantic Sun with 1,500 or more points. He is the 21st player to reach that level in the history of the conference.
Freshman center Adnan Hodzic scored a career-high 23 points, tying for the game high in scoring. He also grabbed nine rebounds, one short of a double-double.
"Adnan has done a good job down there," Sanderson said. "He is a strong kid. He is continually getting better. He is battling and competing."
The Bisons opened the game with a 10-0 run. Kennesaw State answered with a 22-2 run to take a 22-12 lead with 7:01 left in the half.
The Bisons put the pressure back on Kennesaw State, with an 8-0 run of their own. Two free throws by Ard with 4:10 remaining pulled the Bisons within two at 22-20.
Twice in the final 2:15 before intermission the Bisons trimmed the lead to one before going into the dressing room trailing 31-28.
Senior center Jason Hopkins gave the Bisons their first last of the second half, 34-33, on a lay-up with 17:07 left to play. Hodzic followed with a pair of lay-ups to extend the Bisons lead to 38-33 with 15:19 on the clock.
The biggest lead for the Bisons in the second half was nine points (45-36) with 12:30 remaining on a free throw by Hopkins.
"There was a flurry of turnovers there in the middle," Sanderson said.
Kennesaw State started another surge and tied the game 49-49 with 10:03 to go.
A lay-up by Ryan Daugherty gave Kennesaw State a 51-49 lead with 9:41 to play. The Bisons would tie the game four times in the last 9:31 of the game, but never were able to regain the lead.
The Bisons out shot Kennesaw State from the field, 47.4 to 41.1 percent. The Bisons also held a 42-36 advantage on the boards.
The Bisons had nine steals. Freshman guard Jimmy Oden tied his season-high.
The three big differences in the game for the Bisons were 3-point field goals, free throws and turnovers. The Bisons hit five-of-19 3-point attempts while Kennesaw State hit 10-of-26. The Bisons were 13-of-25 from the free throw line with Kennesaw State hitting 23-of-35.
"Right now, we need every free throw to drop," Sanderson said. "Making the front ends of one-and-ones keeps the lead at four or five instead of zero.
"We were shooting 73 percent in the league going into the game. The worst thing we can do is harp on it. We need to shoot some extra ones, but we can't harp on it. We have shot the ball particularly well from the free throw line, but the last two games we have not."
The Bisons made 24 turnovers. Kennesaw State committed 18.
"I thought our triangle and two was very effective, and then all of sudden we had a flurry of turnovers that got us out of our defensive rhythm," Sanderson said. "They started making some shots and lead whittled down."
Hopkins hauled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Also in double figures in scoring for the Bisons was freshman guard Josh Slater with 10.
Guard Ronell Wooten led Kennesaw State with 23 points. Forward Shaun Stegall added 21 and Kelvin McConnell finished with 13.
The Bisons are 8-13, 2-5 in the A-Sun. Kennesaw State is 5-15, 3-4 in the conference.