The Lipscomb University Bisons dropped a physical match with Tennessee Tech 83-72.
It was a game played mainly in the post, with the teams combining for 72 points in the paint, while Lipscomb’s starting center Adnan Hodzic was out nursing an injured lower leg.
Senior forward Thomas Pfaff filled in beautifully for Hodzic at center scoring a career-high 20 points. He also posted his second consecutive double-double grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds.
And when the game wasn’t played in the post, it was played in transition and on the run.
The Bisons struggled to match the athleticism of Tennessee Tech.
“I thought the ball pressure bothered us a little bit,” said Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson. “We turned the ball over 17 times. For our team, that is way too many.”
Tennessee Tech scored 20 points off Lipscomb’s turnovers while the Bisons were only able to score seven points off Tech’s 14 turnovers.
For most of the game, the Bisons played solid defensively.
“They made some tough shots, especially in the first half,” Sanderson said. “In the second half, we guard the shot very well, but they got a lot of offensive rebounds and stick backs.
“Man-for-man, they are more athletic than us. They broke down part of our defense and I didn’t think our ball movement was great.”
With 11:05 remaining in the game, Tennessee Tech was up by five, but the Bisons were not ready to go away.
Layups by sophomore guard Josh Slater and Pfaff cut Tech’s lead to one. Slater’s 3-pointer at 9:18 gave the Bisons their first lead since there were 34 seconds remaining in the first half.
Sophomore forward Brandon Brown extended the Bisons lead to four with 9:06 remaining before Tennessee Tech called a timeout to try to ice the Bisons’ run.
The leaded flipped back and forth until the 5:00 mark when Tennessee Tech went on a 15-5 run to end the game.
With 3:29 remaining, Lipscomb had a chance to bring the game back to within one point with four free throws when Ra’shun Bryan received a personal foul and a technical foul.
Sophomore Michael Teller was only able to hit one of the four free throws.
“We didn’t shoot free throws that great, and they didn’t either,” said Sanderson. “But in the last five minutes, we didn’t hit our free throws and they did. It would have been a one or two point game, but instead it bounced us to a five or six point game. That’s a big difference when you’re trying to keep a game close.”
Tennessee Tech hit 7-of-12 free throws in the final five minutes. Lipscomb didn’t hit a field goal after Pfaff scored on a layup with 3:49 remaining.
Teller scored 18 points for the Bisons and was essential for keeping Lipscomb in the game during the first half, despite the Bisons shooting 35.7 percent from the field.
Teller was 3-of-6 from behind the arc and added three free throws to lead the Bisons with 12 points at the half. He also grabbed four rebounds and had three steals in the first period.
Sophomore guard Jimmy Oden was 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, scoring 13 points for Lipscomb. He also had four steals and three assists, both game-highs. Brown scored 11 points.
Lipscomb out-rebounded a bigger Tennessee Tech 40-36.
Tennessee Tech placed five players in double figures. D.J. Lindsay was the high scorer with 15 points. Center Daniel Northern added ten points, seven rebounds, and four blocks in 18 minutes of action.
Lipscomb will have a shot to tie the season series and pick up their first victory over Tennessee Tech since 1956 when the Bisons visit Cookeville on Dec. 1.
The game was the 40th meeting between the two schools and the first since 1974. Tennessee Tech holds a 37-3 all-time advantage.
The Bisons return to the court Thursday night as they play host to Southeastern Louisiana. The game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m., but will tip approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the Lady Bisons and UT-Martin game.
Jonathan Seamon and Benjamin Seamon will be on the call for the Lipscomb Sports Network. Free online audio streaming is available at www.LipscombSports.com/sportsnetwork/. The game will also be broadcast on ASunTV at www.ASun.tv.
Story by Trevor Garrett of the Lipscomb Athletics Media Relations Department