BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Lipscomb Bisons traveled to Birmingham, Ala., Monday night to face the Samford Bulldogs in their first road game of the year.
The Bulldogs frustrated the Bisons with their precision-style Princeton offense and pulled away in the second half to defeat Lipscomb 57-50.
The Bisons did little to help their own cause shooting a dismal 27.8 percent and turning the ball over 20 times.
“Besides the 27 percent, besides the 21 percent from the three and besides the 20 turnovers, we’ve got to be able to react when things are not going our way,” said Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson.
Sanderson promised two difficult days of practice before Thanksgiving to work on the mental side of the game.
“I’ve said it a million times,” Sanderson explained. “How do you play when the shots aren’t falling? How do you play when you can’t get the rebounds? How do you play when you have a break down? How do you play when you guard for 30 seconds and then they get an offensive rebound and then you’re guarding for a minute. They only got four, but still that could be four minutes you are guarding and not two minutes you are guarding. That is a big difference and each possession is magnified in a game like this.”
One of the few bright spots for Lipscomb was out-rebounding Samford 44-30 while limiting Samford to only four offensive rebounds.
The first half was not pretty for either team. The two squads combined to shoot 27.1 percent from the field and 10 percent from behind the 3-point line.
Lipscomb did hold early advantages in the first half and was up 23-20 at the intermission.
“When you are on your heels defensively the whole time and you are struggling like crazy to score, you have to look at the start of the game and at the end of the first half when we scored in transition to get our leads,” said Sanderson.
The Bisons advantage was permanently erased when Samford went on a 9-2 run to open the second half.
Samford did not lead the Bisons by more than seven points in the second period until the closing seconds, allowing Lipscomb to stay within striking distance.
Following layups by center Adnan Hodzic and Brown, the Bisons were down two with 2:29 remaining.
Samford countered with a layup by Trent Montgomery to go up four. Slater missed a jumper with 1:59 remaining and Andy King hit two free throws after being fouled by forward Thomas Pfaff.
Curtis West added another free throw with 53 seconds remaining to push Samford’s lead to seven.
Sophomore forward Brandon Brown recorded his fifth career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. In last year’s matchup with Samford, Brown grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds.
Sophomore Michael Teller was the only other Lipscomb player to score in double figures. He finished with 13 points on four-of-eight shooting from downtown.
Pfaff and Slater each grabbed seven rebounds.
Bryan Friday scored a game-high 20 points for Samford. Josh Davis scored 11 points while King added 10 points off the bench.
The Bisons will travel to Cookeville Monday looking to revenge Tennessee Tech’s 83-72 win last week in Allen Arena. Game time is 8 p.m.
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/.
Story by Trevor Garrett of the Lipscomb Athletics Media Relations Department