The Bisons ended a four-game winning streak Thursday night at North Florida with a 72-62 loss to the Ospreys.
With the win North Florida gained ground on the Bisons who still control the fourth place spot in the Atlantic Sun standings with a 9-5 A-Sun record. The Ospreys improved to 6-6 in league play with the win and remain in fifth place.
Neither team got off to an outstanding start in the first four minutes of the game. The Ospreys missed on their first five shots while the Bisons committed three early turnovers. North Florida got the first basket at the 16:01 mark and led the rest of the way.
Bisons head coach Scott Sanderson said after the game that he was not pleased in the way everyone focused and executed the game plan.
“We just didn’t show up,” Sanderson said. “Just call it like it is. We had some guys completely not show up and we let their physical play take us out of what we wanted to do."
One player that scored well under his average of 19 points per game was Bisons senior Adnan Hodzic. Hodzic finished the game with only two points and six rebounds. His one basket came with only eight minutes remaining in the game.
North Florida connected on seven more field goals than Lipscomb in the first half and shot nearly 54 percent. The Bisons were only eight-of-26 from the field in the first half (30.8 percent). At the break, Lipscomb trailed 35-19.
“They made 15 field goals in the first half and 12 of them were layups.” Sanderson said. “That is attention to detail. Again, we had some guys completely not show up.”
Lipscomb also struggled to take care of the basketball Thursday night. The Bisons turned the ball over 19 times, including 11 turnovers in the first half. Sanderson said the team worked extensively in practice against the type of defense North Florida runs.
“I said we were either going to get the right shots by the right people, or we were going to turn it over,” Sanderson said. “In the first half we turned it over and they shot layups at the other end of the floor. I don’t have an answer for that.”
In the second half, the Bisons jumped out with four quick points to cut the margin down to 12 points. However, the Ospreys then went on a quick 10-4 scoring run and took their largest lead of the game, 47-27.
From there the Bisons used a lot of energy to battle back and cut the lead to seven at the 4:27 mark, but that would prove to be as close as the Bisons would come.
Sanderson said falling behind changes the way you have to play a team.
“You have to play like you are not supposed to be playing. You have to play fast, you have to press, you have to extend yourself, and you have to do things that you don’t characteristically want to do. You have to play a little faster and expend more energy so that when you do get to a workable margin you can’t overcome the humps.”
Lipscomb senior Josh Slater paced the Bisons with 19 points. He also chipped in with four rebounds, six assists, and eight steals - a Lipscomb NCAA era single game record.
As a team, Lipscomb shot nearly 37 percent from the field (24-of-65). The Bisons went 5-for-20 from the three-point line (25 percent) and nine-of-13 from the free throw line (69.2 percent).
North Florida shot 49 percent from the field (26-of-53). The Ospreys went one-of-11 from the three-point line (nine percent) and 19-of-29 from the free throw line (65.5 percent).
Lipscomb dropped to 14-9 overall and 9-5 in the A-Sun, while the Ospreys improved to 9-14 overall and 6-6 in league play.
The Bisons will be back in action Saturday afternoon at Swisher Gymnasium on the campus of Jacksonville University to face the Dolphins. Game time is set for 2:15 p.m. central. Coverage with Jonathan and Benjamin Seamon will begin at 2:00 p.m. on the Lipscomb Sports Network.