The basics are that if the Lipscomb Bisons beat Mercer Saturday afternoon at Allen Arena the worst they can be is the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. If they win, and Jacksonville loses at home to ETSU, the Bisons would tie for the conference regular season championship and win the No. 1 seed on a tiebreaker.
Saturday’s game between the Bisons, 16-12, 13-6 in the A-Sun, and Mercer, 14-15, 10-9 in the conference, will be televised live on CSS-TV and ESPN360.com . The Bisons beat Kennesaw State 74-66 Thursday night. Mercer lost 77-73 at Belmont.
The Bisons opened the Atlantic Sun portion of the season at Mercer Dec. 3 with a 98-89 win.
Guard Johnny Lee will be honored as part of Senior Day activities. The game is also part of Lipscomb’s Homecoming celebration.
“It’s the last game of the season at home,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “You would think we would come out ripping and roaring to go. We will see.”
The numbers for both teams are close. The Bisons lead the conference overall in scoring with 79.2 points per game. Mercer is second with 76.6.
Mercer leads in 3-point field goals per game overall with 8.34. The Bisons are second with 8.21.
Sanderson’s biggest concern remains the ability of the Bisons to rebound the ball. The Bisons are averaging 36.6 rebounds per game and while opponents are averaging 33.8. Mercer is averaging 37.3 rebounds per game with opponents averaging 34.5.
Both teams are tied for second in the conference overall with plus-2.8 rebounding margins.
With only one day to prepare for Mercer, the biggest concern for the Bisons during practice was to learn and to stay fresh physically.
Mercer has four players averaging in double figures. Senior guard James Florence leads the way with 18.4 points followed by senior forward Daniel Emerson with 15.3. Senior guard E.J. Kusnyer and junior guard Jeff Smith are each averaging 11.2.
The Bisons are led by Hodzic with 22 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Junior guard Josh Slater is averaging 17.4 points. Guard Jordan Burgason is averaging 12.8 and forward Brandon Brown is scoring at a 10.4 points per game clip.
“We have to really buy into what the coaches are saying about defense and rebounding,” Hodzic said. “Our offense has been there the whole year. It has been the defense that has gotten us.
“This is do or die. We are treating these games like tournament games. I think having that mentality will get us ready for the tournament.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations