On Jan. 11 at Allen Arena the Lipscomb Bisons beat the Belmont Bruins 64-53 in the first installment of the “Battle of the Boulevard”. The Bisons are 1-3 since that game and the Bruins are 2-2, but those wins have been in their last two games against Campbell and ETSU.
“Belmont is much better,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “It is a little bit of a role reversal. They are playing better offensively. They made 14 3-point shots against ETSU.
“They have won two big games at home. I’m sure they have their heads up a little bit and have some confidence. Confidence can do amazing things for you.”
Belmont is led by freshman guard Ian Clark with 14 points per game and sophomore forward Mick Hedgepeth with 11.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Tuesday night the Bisons make the shortest road trip of the season as they head down the boulevard to the Curb Event Center. The game is scheduled to begin at 6. It will also be televised live on CSS.
Both teams are 6-4 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Lipscomb is 9-10 overall. Belmont is 11-9.
Sanderson is seeking some help for his top three scorers, center Adnan Hodzic (21.3 ppg) and guards Josh Slater (15.8) and Jordan Burgason (12.6).
“We have to have some help from some other guys,” Sanderson said. “We need some other guys just to be solid on both ends of the floor. That’s the biggest thing.
“They have to be solid offensively as far as shot selection, taking care of the ball and knowing where the ball needs to go. On defense they have to be solid in guarding the ball and being in the right spots in our team defense.”
The Bisons are also feeling the loss of forward Brandon Brown who has missed six games with a shoulder injury.
“Brandon is a solid defender,” Sanderson said. “We have to replace his 28 minutes.
“We kind of camouflaged it for a little while. There is nothing we can do about it. But the effect of his loss has kind of reared its head a little bit in the last few games. It is what it is.”
Sanderson has been challenging his reserve players to use the absence of Brown to show what they can do on the court.
“Someone has to play Brandon’s 28 minutes, get his 13 points and get his six rebounds,” Sanderson said. “It doesn’t have to be one person. It can be a combination of three or four different people.
“If some of those role players play five minutes or 15 minutes are they productive or to do they have zeroes across the board. The minutes they give us off of the bench are very important.”
Hodzic, who also leads the team in rebounds with 7.6 per game, has scored in double figures in 46 straight games, the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. His ability to score down low makes it even more important for his teammates to be ready to score as well.
“Everybody is going to put a lot of emphasis on him,” Sanderson said. “That is why what the four guys around him do, and the cuts that they make, are so important. He creates a lot of shots for our perimeter guys by his ability to score in the low post.”
One of the players stepping up for the Bisons has been Burgason, who improves with each game.
“We feel good about what Jordan is doing,” Sanderson said. “Certainly, he can shoot the ball. But he has been more consistent. He is putting the ball on the floor more. His turnovers are down and his rebounding is up.”
“He has been very solid defensively. He is getting around three rebounds a game. He has stepped up and played very well for us.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/ Director of Media Relations