It might be difficult to comprehend based on the statistics, but the Lipscomb Bisons aren’t spending very much time in practice working on their offensive skills.
In Thursday night’s 94-74 win over SIU Edwardsville the Bisons placed five players in double figures. The 94 points marked a season-high for the Bisons. But it was the 46.4 percent shooting of the Cougars that caught Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson’s attention.
“All we are doing is working on defense,” said Sanderson. “I’m sure some people were watching us in the first half of the SIUE game were wondering if we ever work on defense.
“We don’t spend much time offensively. That’s hard to believe because we are scoring at such a high clip. But scoring is not our concern. Our concern is being able to stop people.”
The Bisons, 3-5, play their last home game of 2009 Saturday night at 7 when Oakland City, 4-3, visits Allen Arena. The Mighty Oaks are 0-3 on the road and are coming off a 77-62 loss at Quincy Wednesday night. The Bisons have won three of their last four games.
Senior forward Nathan Schumacher, 6-foot-6, has posted six double-doubles in points and rebounding. He leads Oakland City with 17.9 points and 13.4 rebounds per game.
Also averaging in double figures in scoring are junior guard Jared Maners (14.1) and senior center Brandon Hopf (11.0).
The university is located in Oakland City, Ind., and competes in NCAA Division II.
“Oakland City’s players are very, very smart,” said Sanderson. “They know how to play. They are very unselfish. We need to be ready to go.”
The Bisons are being energized on defense by the way they are scoring on offense. Sanderson, a disciple of a strong defensive game plan, would like to see it work the other way.
“The problem that I have right now is our good offense gives our defense energy,” said Sanderson. “I would like to have good defense when we don’t have good offense.
“Instead of being ready on defense we have too many guys who have to get ready to be ready. That is not a good thing. We don’t anticipate plays. We have to be down in our stances and be ready early in each possession.”
Sanderson views fine-tuning of the defense as an ongoing process. He points to the SIU Edwardsville game as a prime example of how the Bisons are executing defensively.
“SIUE shot 57.1 percent in the first half and 35.7 percent in the second,” said Sanderson. “It was the same players out there both halves. We decided to go to a different level.
“We will see film of the SIUE game in practice. We are trying to stay on top of it on defense. They understand. We just have to get a little bit more from each guy.”
The Bisons have trailed at the end of the first half in every game this season. They rallied from being eight down against SIU Edwardsville with runs of 9-0 and 16-0.
“The biggest thing is I like the way they responded in the second half,” said Sanderson. “It’s not great, but if we can hold teams to 45 to 46 percent shooting we are going win by 15 or 20 like we did against SIUE.
“We don’t panic when we are behind. Some teams don’t play well from behind. But we just keep grinding away and grinding away. We wouldn’t know how to act if we played with a lead in the first half.”
Junior center Adnan Hodzic leads the Bisons in scoring with 21.4 points per game. He has the longest streak in NCAA Division I in double figures scoring with 35 straight games. The last time he scored in single digits was Nov. 24, 2008 against Samford.
Also averaging in double figures for the Bisons are junior guard Josh Slater (18.0), junior forward Brandon Brown (14.1) and sophomore guard Jordan Burgason (10.0).
Hodzic also leads the team in rebounds per game with 7.5.
“We have a bunch of weapons,” said Sanderson. “We are going to fine.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations