NASHVILLE, TENN. – Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson has been preaching to his squad all season the importance of playing consistently well.
In a 79-74 loss Monday evening Lipscomb allowed Belmont University jumped to a 10-2 lead to start the game before the Bisons settled into a routine.
The Bisons fought back to tie the game at 35 at the half, but allowed Belmont to open the second half on a 15-3 run to go up 50-38 with 15:13 remaining.
“When you start both halves being outscored 25-5 you dig yourself a difficult hole to comeback from,” said Sanderson.
Lipscomb went on a short 5-0 run on a three by sophomore Josh Slater and two free throws by sophomore Brandon Brown to bring the game to 50-43.
Down 61-51 the Bisons went on a 9-0 run over 3:47 to bring the game to within one.
Slater nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:15 remaining to tie the game at 63.
“We need to work on getting off to better starts but we always fight back,” said Slater.
But the Bisons momentum was iced when a foul, that was declared intentional after a discussion between the officials, was called on senior Michael Lusk as he attempted to stop a fastbreak layup by Andy Wicke.
Belmont scored six of their next 10 points off of Lipscomb turnovers and stretched their lead to six points.
“We got it 63 all and we had four turnovers down the stretch,” said Sanderson. “You can’t have those turnovers and expect to win against a good team.”
Belmont finished with 20 points off of 15 Lipscomb turnovers. Lipscomb only capitalized nine points off of 10 Belmont turnovers.
Lipscomb cut Belmont’s lead to two (71-69) with 2:32 remaining following two free throws by Brian Wright and a layup by Brown. But Belmont regained their six point lead following two free throws by Shane Dansby and a layup by Wicke.
Lusk had an opportunity to cut Belmont’s lead back to two with two free throws with 17 second remaining. He missed the first, but made the second. Wicke extended Belmont’s lead back to five with two free throws on the next possession.
Slater led Lipscomb with 20 points. Brown had 15 points, 11 in the second half. He was four-of-five from the field and 7-of-12 from the free throw line.
Lusk had nine points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Sophomore Adnan Hodzic added 11 points and six rebounds.
Wicke led Belmont with 26 points. He scored 20 points in the second period, including 11 of 14 points scored by Belmont during a 5:32 stretch of the half. Shane Dansby had 15 points and 8 rebounds for the Bruins.
Lipscomb held a 42-33 advantage on the boards. Slater posted a team-high 10 rebounds. Senior Thomas Pfaff had 7 boards, all offensive.
Lipscomb was 23-of-52 (44.2 percent) from the field. The Bisons were 8-of-18 (44.4 percent) from the 3-point line and 20-of-31 (64.5 percent) from the free throw line.
Belmont was 26-of-57 (45.6 percent) from the field. The Bruins were 9-of-30 (30 percent) from the 3-point line and 18-of-29 (62.1 percent) from the free throw line.
Belmont now leads the series 8-4 since the rivalry was resumed in 2004 when both teams joined the Atlantic Sun. Lipscomb holds a 68-55 all-time advantage.
Belmont improves to 9-6, 5-1 in the Atlantic Sun. Lipscomb falls to 6-9, 2-4 in the Atlantic Sun.
The Bisons are back in action Saturday afternoon in Johnson City, Tenn., against ETSU. Game time is 3 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/.