Center Adnan Hodzic and guard Josh Slater will have a great deal to do with whether or not the Lipscomb Bisons are successful Thursday night at Belmont in the first edition of the “Battle of the Boulevard” for the 2010-2011 season. But when the game tips off at 7:30 at the Curb Event Center Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson is going to be counting on reserve center Milos Kleut and point guard Jacob Arnett.
The game can be seen on ESPN 3 on the Internet.
“You don’t win with two guys,” Sanderson said. “You have to have 15 guys playing as a cohesive group.
“We haven’t played at our peak, but we are still in there. It is more mental. It is a matter of us going out there and executing.”
The Bisons enter the game with a 9-6 record, 4-2 in the A-Sun. Belmont is 14-3 and remains unbeaten in the A-Sun with a 6-0 record. The Bisons have won the last three meetings. Belmont holds an 8-7 edge overall in the NCAA era.
“Belmont’s players are good team defenders,” Sanderson said. “They do a good job of executing offensively and getting the shot they want to get.”
Kleut plays behind Hodzic which limits his time on the court. Against North Florida Kleut played 10 minutes as Hodzic got into foul trouble early. He scored four points and grabbed three rebounds, but his presence on the court made a difference defensively with his 6-foot-10 frame.
“Milos needs to play that way for us against Belmont,” Sanderson said. “He is a very good defensive player. Not only does he cover his man, but he covers a lot of sins down there.”
Arnett could be back in the starting lineup for the second game in a row based on how Robert Boyd is feeling.
“We won the league last year with Jacob at the point,” Sanderson said. “He had one of his better games against North Florida. “We need unexpected guys to step up. That’s why the role guys from six-to-10 are more important.”
Sanderson is going to be counting on his reserves to step up not only against Belmont, but for the rest of the season.
“We are an easier scout for a lot of teams,” Sanderson said. “They know that Adnan and Josh are going to get a lot of shots. And then Jordan Burgason, Michael Teller and Brian Wright will get shots.
“In conference games teams will try to take those guys away and see if we are good enough to have someone else beat them. In league play teams understand what we are trying to do. We need to have nine or 10 guys playing, but we need quality minutes, not just time on the floor.”
Sanderson knows his players mark the Belmont games on their calendars each season. He can’t do anything to control that. But what he tries to do is keep the game in perspective with the rest of the A-Sun schedule.
“From a coaching standpoint you can’t make the Belmont games any different because the fans and players are doing that,” Sanderson said. “It is more about what you don’t say than what you do say.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.