March 7, 2008
Lipscomb fell behind early and never could quite recover against ETSU in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament in Allen Arena on Thursday night. The Bisons needed to win in order to advance to the semifinals to face Belmont tomorrow night, but the Buccaneers made plays down the stretch to overcome Lipscomb 81-74.
With 1:20 left in the first half, ETSU secured their largest lead of the game at 15 points. However, the Bisons went on a 6-0 run to close the half and cut the lead to 46-37. The Bisons never could take the lead throughout the game but managed to tie the game twice.
The last six games between these two schools have been decided by 7 points or less.
"All of them have been close games down to the wire," said head coach Scott Sanderson. "They have made the plays in the last three or four minutes. They have played well, they have had guys that have stepped up."
The game was one in which the senior leadership for both teams played a major role. Seniors Travis Strong and Kenyona Swader both made a significant impact for ETSU. Strong led the team with 16 points, while Swader had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The Bisons had two seniors step up with great leadership as well. LaKory Daniels finished the night with 5 three-pointers for 15 points. He also had two assists and one steal. Eddie Ard was tremendous in his last game as a Bison. He finished with a game high 19 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks. Ard will finish his Lipscomb career as the 16th all time scorer with 1,624 total points.
"It's been a nice 5 years, and I appreciate everything that I've learned here," said Ard. "It's been a nice run."
The second half started out better for the Bisons, as they stretched their 6-0 run that closed the first half into a 15-2 run. With 16:29 left in the game, Lipscomb cut ETSU's lead to 48-46. However, the Bucs fought back to extend their lead to 59-48 with 12:54 left in the second half.
The Bisons showed tremendous heart, and did not go down easily. They battled back to tie the game at 71 with 2:08 to play. However, the Buccaneers held the Bisons off with a 10-3 run to close the game.
The Buccaneers shot 28-58 from the field (48.3%), including 6-19 from behind the three point line (31.6%). The Bisons shot 27-69 from the field (39.1%). Lipscomb was 15-32 from behind the three point line (46.9%).
The free-throw line made a big difference for ETSU. The Bucs were 19-25 from the charity stripe (76%). Lipscomb was 5-11 from the stripe (45.5%).
ETSU will advance to play Belmont at 8:15 in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Tournament in Allen Arena tomorrow night. They improved to 19-12 on the year with their first round win over Lipscomb. The Bisons fell to 15-16 on the year after Thursday night's A-Sun tournament loss.
"These two guys are great guys (Daniels and Ard). They are both going to graduate in May. The rest of our team can look at their model of how they have been. Not just on the floor, but seeing them off the floor and how they conduct themselves," said Sanderson. "They are always doing the right thing. They will be very successful when they leave here in May."