With a 6-foot-9, 255-pound frame Lipscomb center Adnan Hodzic is a force to be reckoned with underneath the basket.
But Hodzic didn’t think he was being forceful enough, especially as a rebounder. Coach Scott Sanderson wholeheartedly agreed with Hodzic.
Thursday night against Kennesaw State at Allen Arena Hodzic decided to be relentless in his pursuit of the ball off the boards like a hungry bulldog grabbing a bone. He not only scored 24 points to extend his double figures scoring streak to 55 games, the longest in the nation, but he also recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 20 rebounds to spark a 74-66 win.
The rebound total was an all-time record in the NCAA era for a Lipscomb player. He broke the previous mark of 17 in a game set by Cameron Robinson against Jackson State on Dec. 8, 2005.
“Sorry Cam,” Hodzic said.
It was only the fourth time in the A-Sun in the past nine years that a player has had a 20-20 game in points and rebounds. The last player to do it was Haminn Quaintance for Jacksonville with 26 points and 21 rebounds against Troy Jan 1, 2005.
“He was going after it,” Sanderson said. “When he goes after it he can’t help but get some rebounds. We needed every one of them.”
Sanderson refused to take any credit for Hodzic’s rebounding explosion.
“I have been saying the same things to him all year long,” Sanderson said. “Maybe he heard it differently.”
In addition to having Sanderson constantly questioning his rebounding skills, Hodzic was also disappointed that he managed only two rebounds at Florida Gulf Coast and five at Stetson in his previous two games.
“All season I have been trying to understand my value to the team,” Hodzic said. “I was very upset about those last two games on the road. That was inexcusable for me. Coach Sanderson stayed on me. I realized I let my team now even though we got the wins.
“Coach has always told me to play smart and play aggressively. I found the line when it comes to being aggressive and being smart. I will give the coaches 95 percent of the credit. Five percent of the credit goes to me because I am able to get them.”
The only negative to Hodzic’s performance was that he grabbed half of the rebounds for the Bisons who finished with 40. The next highest individual total was four.
“Adnan is the only one that rebounded,” Sanderson said. “Josh Slater got four and Brandon Brown got four and that’s it. If Adnan doesn’t get 20 we get killed on the backboards. He can’t be the only guy.”
Kennesaw State had 35 rebounds, but 15 of them were on the offensive boards with 13 in the second half.
“We did a better job of guarding them in the second half and they shoot 36.7 percent for the game,” Sanderson said. “But we gave up 13 offensive rebounds in the second half.
“Guarding them is one thing. But rebounding is something else. We did a good job of guarding the first shot but we didn’t rebound the ball. We have to do a better job after the first shot of rebounding the ball.”
The Bisons are 16-12, 13-6 in the Atlantic Sun. Kennesaw State slipped to 12-18, 7-12 in the conference.
Saturday at 5 the Bisons close out the regular season against Mercer at Allen Arena. The game will be shown live on CSS. The Bisons are still in the running for the A-Sun regular season championship and the first seed in the tournament.
The Bisons had to hold off a late run by Kennesaw State. With the Bisons leading 67-64 forward Michael Teller found the range on a 3-pointer with 1:31 left, his only points of the game, to stop Kennesaw State’s run.
“I was proud of Michael Teller,” Sanderson said. “He stepped up and hit the biggest shot of the game to put us up by six. That was a huge shot for him and for us. I was glad to see him knock it down.”
The Bisons led 37-30 at intermission. Hodzic had 14 points and nine rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
The biggest lead for the Bisons in the second half was 13, 46-33, as forward Jordan Burgason connected on a 3-pointer with 17:22 left to play.
Kennesaw State twice cut the lead down to four. With 14:03 they trailed 44-40 on a layup by guard Markeith Cummings. With 13:17 remaining forward LaDaris Green scored on a tip-in to make it 50-46.
Cummings scored on a layup with 1:58 and was fouled on the play. He hit a free throw to make it 67-64 and set the stage for Teller’s heroics.
In the first half the Bisons jumped out to a 7-6 lead and never trailed the rest of the way. But Sanderson never felt confident until the final buzzer sounded.
“They have always been a scary team to me,” Sanderson said. “Every time we would get away from them they would come right back.”
Also in double figures for the Bisons were Slater with 15 and Burgason with 12.
Kennesaw State was led by Cummings with 22 points. Green added 13 points and also had a double-double with 12 rebounds. Guard Kurtis Woods chipped in with 12 and forward Jon-Michael Nickerson scored 10.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations