Bisons can't find offensive rhythm in loss to Mercer
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Bisons can't find offensive rhythm in loss to Mercer

The Bisons closed out the 2010-11 regular season on a disappointing note Saturday as they fell to the Mercer Bears 68-67 at the University Center in Macon, GA.  

Lipscomb senior Josh Slater had an opportunity to win the game on a last second 12-foot jump shot.  However, after hitting the rim twice, the ball bounced out and the horn sounded.  

Lipscomb will face Mercer next Thursday in the first round of the General Shale Atlantic Sun Championships.

The Bisons connected on only 17-of-46 shot attempts and only hit three shots from behind the arc.  

Despite the poor shooting, Bisons head coach Scott Sanderson said the team’s defense was his biggest concern.

“We had a hard time making shots,” Sanderson said.  “As bad as we were at making shots, shooting just 37 percent and 16 percent from three, I was probably more disappointed with our defense.

“That is something that we have been preaching all year long.  To have that many rotations against that team, in my opinion is sickening.”

The lead changed 10 different times between the two teams and neither team led by more than eight points.  

After leading much of the first half, Lipscomb allowed Mercer to close the half on a 7-2 run and tie the game at 32 at halftime.  In the second half, both teams battled back and forth with Mercer taking a four-point lead with 22 seconds left.

Slater went down and quickly drew a foul on a made layup. He connected on the three-point play to cut the Bears lead to one point.  Lipscomb sent Mercer senior Mark Hall to the free-throw line with 13 seconds remaining, and he missed on both attempts.  

Slater came out with the rebound and immediately went to work to try and take it to the basket.  However, the Bears forced him to attempt a jump shot from about 12 feet out that bounced off the rim as the final second came off the clock.  

“We were just trying to get back to the basket,” Sanderson said.  “We had a play called and we didn’t really want to call a timeout.   We knew we wanted to get the ball into Josh’s hands and get back to the basket the best we possibly could.”

Slater led the Bisons in scoring with 23 points and seven rebounds.  He went 15-for-17 from the free-throw line.  Adnan Hodzic paced Lipscomb with nine rebounds and chipped in with 17 points.  They were the only two Bison players to score in double figures.  

In a game that included 50 fouls and 62 free-throws, the Bisons never seemed to get into an offensive rhythm.  Lipscomb has yet to win a game this season in which they have shot less than 43 percent and scored less than 70 points.

Free-throws proved to be one of the bright spots for the Bisons.  Lipscomb connected on 30-of-37 from the line (81.1 percent).  Lipscomb also out-rebounded the Bears 40-27.  

The Bears shot 23-of-53 from the field (43.4 percent) and 6-of-20 from downtown (30 percent).  Mercer connected on 64 percent of their free-throws (16-of-25).

Mercer improved to 14-7 overall and 11-9 in the Atlantic Sun.  Lipscomb dropped to 17-12 overall and 12-8 in the A-Sun.  

“We will go back home and get a couple of days of practice under our belt,” Sanderson said.  “We will come back down here on Thursday night and be ready to throw it up.”  

Next Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup is scheduled for 8 p.m. central time at the University Center.  Coverage on the Lipscomb Sports Network will begin at 7:30 p.m.