ELON, N.C. – The first few minutes of each half can set the tone for a team or create a difficult spread to close.
The Bisons allowed Elon to go on early runs at the beginning of both halves Monday night in a 79-76 loss at Elon.
While the Bisons went on their own runs to close the gap and forced overtime, the energy expended with an injury-shortened bench provided a significant obstacle to overcome during the extra period.
“How you start the game sets the tone,” said Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson. “To get down nine in the first half and 11 in the second half in the first five minutes, you have to fight so hard to come back from the deficit that it takes the wind out of you.”
The Bisons were down seven at 5:58 left in the first when they went on an 8-0 run over 1:24.
Redshirt sophomore Michael Teller hit a three-pointer to start the run. Redshirt sophomore Brian Wright nailed a jumper on the next possession. Sophomore Josh Slater hit on the next possession to give the Bisons a one-point lead.
Elon nailed two three-pointers in the final minute of the first half for a 37-31 lead at the half.
Sophomore center Adnan Hodzic scored 14 points on six-of-nine shooting in the first half. It was the most points scored by a Bison player in the first half this year.
Hodzic finished with a career-high 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting and grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds.
Elon went on a 7-1 run early in the second period to extend their lead to 11 with 16:16 remaining.
Lipscomb responded with an 8-2 run to close the gap to three points with 11:25 before Elon called a timeout to ice the run.
“We play with a sense of urgency when we are down and when the game is on a line, but after that we don’t compete the way we need to compete and we have to get that corrected,” said Sanderson.
The Bisons took their first lead of the second half with 7:27 remaining when senior guard Michael Lusk nailed a three-pointer to put Lipscomb up 57-56.
Lusk finished the game with 14 points and five assists. He hit four-of-five three-pointers. His only miss was a last second shot in overtime. Lusk’s four threes tied a career-high.
Elon was up by two with 2:59 remaining in the second period.
Neither team scored until sophomore forward Brandon Brown made a layup to tie the game with 1:18 on the clock.
Hodzic gave the Bisons a three-point lead with 40 seconds remaining after hit a layup and converting a subsequent free throw shot.
Elon’s Chris Long tied the game with 19 seconds left on a three-pointer. He finished with 28 on the night.
Sanderson opted for his squad to hold for the last shot. Lusk attempted a jumper with three seconds on the clock, but it rimmed out forcing overtime.
The teams combined to miss their first eight shots in the extra period.
T.J. Douglas posted the first points of overtime when he gave Elon a two-point lead off of two free throws with 1:25 remaining.
Devan Carter added a free throw for Elon with 1:06 left.
Hodzic cut the lead to one on a layup with 47 seconds remaining.
Brett James nailed a long-ball to extend Elon’s lead to four with 20 second left.
Lipscomb’s Michael Teller cut the lead in half on two free throws with eleven seconds left, but Long gave Elon a three-point lead shortly thereafter making the second of two free throws.
Lusk attempted a three with a couple ticks left on the clock. Teller rebounded the ball deep towards half court, but was unable to make an attempt before time expired.
“We fought and fought and we are going to fight,” said Sanderson. “But you cannot compete on another level on both ends of the court when you are down or when the game is on the line. You have to be able to make stops, make plays, and get buckets.”
Lipscomb shot 27-of-58 on the evening for 46.6 percent. The Bisons allowed Elon to shoot 29-of-59 for 49.2 percent.
Four Bisons posted double-figures. Brown finished with 13 and Teller 11 to join Hodzic and Lusk.
Elon out-rebounded Lipscomb 34-31.
Lipscomb is 4-6. Elon improves to 4-4.
After a short break Christmas, the Bisons return to Lipscomb for practices Friday and Saturday in preparation for their game Sunday against Indiana in Bloomington, Ind., at 5 p.m.
Lipscomb fans are invited to a pre-game pep rally at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bloomington Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. For Comcast customers in Nashville, the game will be shown on channel 266. To locate the channel in your area, please visit http://bigten.channelfinder.net/start.asp.
Jonathan Seamon, Benjamin Seamon, and Justin 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