The Lipscomb Bisons were unable to carry any momentum from Thursday’s 30-point win in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Championship into Friday’s semifinal matchup with Jacksonville.
The Dolphins held Lipscomb scoreless for the first five minutes of the game before cruising to an 88-72 victory ending Lipscomb’s season and snapping its nine-game win streak.
Down 7-0 the Bisons scored five straight behind a three-point play by Adnan Hodzic and a layup by Michael Lusk to bring the game to within two, the closest margin of the night.
Jacksonville used a 17-4 run over 4:39 to take a 15-point lead (26-11) with 8:02 remaining in the first half. Lipscomb brought the game to within 11 twice before the half. Jacksonville was up 38-24 at the intermission.
The No. 1 seed Dolphins opened the second half on a 16-6 run to expand its lead to 24 with 16:17 left. Five Jacksonville 3-pointers in three and a half minutes allowed the Dolphins to expand their lead to 30 with 12:14 remaining in the game.
The Bisons were not ready to pack it up though. Down 73-48 with 8:35 remaining, redshirt freshman Brian Wright drained a three to start a 14-2 run for Lipscomb. Josh Slater capped the run with a 3-pointer with 6:17 left to make it a 75-62 ballgame.
Following a jumper by Jacksonville’s Ben Smith, Lusk drained another three to bring the Bisons to within 12.
Jacksonville was able to slow the pace of the game to drain Lipscomb’s momentum in front of a crowd of 3,400 in Allen Arena.
Wright connected on another three with 2:39 remaining to bring the game back 13, but Lipscomb was not able to complete what would have been a miraculous comeback.
Slater led Lipscomb with 17 points. Wright had 12 points while Brandon Brown added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Hodzic had 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting. It was just the fourth time this season and first time since Jan. 19 against USC Upstate that the First Team All-Atlantic Sun center did not connect on more than half of his shots.
After shooting only 31.3 percent (10-of-32) in the first half, Lipscomb shot 56.3 percent (18-of-32) in the second half. The Bisons shot 43.8 percent on the night.
Jacksonville held a 43-31 advantage on the boards. Jacksonville outrebounded Lipscomb in all three meeting this year. Ayron Hardy and Marcus Allen led Jacksonville with seven boards.
Jacksonville had 20 offensive rebounds and scored 25 second chance points. Nine of Jacksonville’s first 13 points were on second chance opportunities.
Lusk and fellow senior Thomas Pfaff both closed their careers at Lipscomb. Lusk had seven points and three assists. Pfaff had six points and two rebounds.
Lusk played in 122 games as a Bison, starting 87. He scored 790 points and dished out 279 assists. Pffaff played in 112 games, starting 33. He had 477 career points and 366 rebounds. He shot 52.5 percent for his career.
Lipscomb closes it season at 17-14, 12-8 in the A-Sun. Jacksonville improves to 18-12, 15-5 in the A-Sun.
Jacksonville will face No. 2 seed ETSU Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. in the championship game of the 2009 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Tournament.
Article by Trevor Garrett of the Lipscomb Athletic Office of Media Relations.