Tuesday night at 7 here at the Coleman Coliseum coach Scott Sanderson will lead his Lipscomb Bisons against the Alabama Crimson Tide from the Southeastern Conference. Sanderson’s father, Wimp, was the head coach for the Tide from 1981-92 and was an assistant from 1960-81.
When Sanderson was playing for South Carolina the school was a member of the Metro Conference and he never to the chance to play here. However, Dec. 29, 2006 he brought his Bisons here and lost 80-58.
“It’s kind of a big deal for me to come back here,” Sanderson said. “It’s another opportunity to come back to where I grew up. “I know every part of Coleman Coliseum. I started shooting at the goals with paper cups when I was a kid.”
This time around the Bisons are 7-2 overall and ranked No. 8 in NCAA Division I with an average of 85.6 points per game. Alabama is 5-6 with all five wins at home.
The Bisons beat Kennesaw State 99-73 Saturday night. Alabama lost to Oklahoma State 68-60.
“We are playing well,” Sanderson said. “We are playing together. We are sustaining good play on offense and defense. There have been a few droughts but they have been few and far between.”
The Bisons are seeking their sixth straight win. Sanderson points to the mindset of his players as one of the big reasons for the Bisons’ success.
“I really like their approach to practice,” Sanderson said. “They have been very focused in practice.
“They are starting to understand that it is a day-to-day, possession-to-possession process. I’m not saying they haven’t always listened, but they are doing a better job of listening.”
Alabama has three players in double figures in scoring. Forward JaMychal Green leads the team with 14 points per game. Forward Tony Mitchell is averaging 13.5 points and leads the team with 8.1 rebounds per game. Guard Trevor Releford is scoring at a pace of 10.2 points per game.
“Green is an NBA talent,” Sanderson said. “He can score in the low post. And he can step out and score. He is very mobile. “Alabama has very good, athletic players with a lot of individual ability. They know how to make plays. “
The Bisons are led by center Adnan Hodzic with 21.1 points, 21st in the nation. He also is the top rebounder for the Bisons with 9.1. Guard Josh Slater averages 19 points per game. Guard Jordan Burgason is scoring 11 points per game.
“No one has to play super human for us,” Sanderson said. “Everyone on this team plays a role. Their roles were identified at the beginning of the season.
“People think they can key on Adnan or Josh. But we have so many other players who can score points. Everyone on this team plays a starring role.”
The Bisons are expecting an upbeat game from Alabama starting with the opening tip-off. Sanderson knows the first five minutes could easily set the Bisons’ fortunes for the game.
“Whether we are playing North Carolina, Baylor, Alabama or Memphis the first five minutes are very, very important,” Sanderson said. “We have to play defense. We have to keep them off of the backboards. We have to hold them to one shot.
“We also have to take care of the ball. We don’t want to give them any cheap baskets. We played a very athletic Kennesaw State team and only made seven turnovers. We have to keep doing that.”
Tickets are still available for the game for $8.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.