The New Year began early for the Lipscomb Bisons basketball team.
Friday morning they were up and dressed by 9:30 for their final day of preparation for Saturday’s Atlantic Sun game with Stetson at approximately 3:15 at Allen Arena. The Bisons are 4-7, 1-1 in the conference. Stetson is 3-7, 1-1 in the conference, 0-6 on the road.
“We got up early, watched some film and practiced at 10,” said Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson. “I don’t like them sleeping in all day. We have had seven or eight good practices and zoned in on some things.
“We have really worked on our focus defensively. We have played very offensively pretty much all year long, but there are going to be nights when we don’t play well. We aren’t trying to beat a dead horse, but we just trying to get them to understand that sense of urgency in defending.”
The game with Stetson is the first of four straight home games. It is also the start of an 18-game run of Atlantic Sun games leading into the conference tournament.
“We are in league play,” Sanderson said. “People know your strengths and weaknesses better than the non-conference teams do. They are going to try to take our strengths away. We have to be prepared for those types of things.
“We have a history with all of the teams in the league. The first several days of practice we worked on trying to get ourselves better. The last couple of days we have worked on Stetson.”
Stetson is led by senior guard A.J. Smith with 14.2 points, freshman guard Tyshawn Patterson with 11.9 points and redshirt freshman forward Ridge Graham with 10.1 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game.
The Hatters are coming off a 72-64 win over Florida Gulf Coast Tuesday night.
“They are very quick,” Sanderson said. “A.J. is a very, very quick guard.
“They have always been an extremely physical team. It will be a big challenge for us.”
The Bisons are led by junior center Adnan Hodzic with 22.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Junior point guard Josh Slater is averaging 14.8 points followed by junior forward Brandon Brown with 12.5 and sophomore guard Jordan Burgason with 10.
The Bisons have not played since Dec. 21 when they fell 83-82 in overtime at Arizona. Despite the loss, Sanderson hopes that his team will repeat many aspects of that performance against Stetson.
“In the Arizona game we played at a very high level on both ends,” Sanderson said. “We were very good executing offensively, and we played pretty good defensively. We played well with a lead. We got behind in front of 13,000 people and still executed our game plan.
“If we can take that performance, that energy and focus into the rest of our games I like our chances. We are hoping that the non-conference schedule is going to realty benefit us in the league play in January and February.”
The Bisons will be back on the court Monday night at 7:30 when Florida Gulf Coast visits.Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations