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11/8/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. - Allen Arena | Attendance: 4982
Friday, November 08, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – If the start of the Casey Alexander era at Lipscomb is any indicator, it is going to be an exciting ride for Bison basketball.
Sparked by 34 points off the bench, Lipscomb and Belmont went all 12 rounds on Friday night’s season opener that turned out to be a heavyweight fight that saw the Bruins sneak out of Allen Arena with an 87-83 win.
The momentum ebbed and flowed throughout the game that saw nine lead changes and neither team take more than a 10-point lead.
“I give the guys a lot of credit,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander. “I’m really proud of their effort finding a way to be in a game that if you look at the stats sheet, we don’t have any part of being in against a really good team that is used to winning.”
In what could be a trend in NCAA basketball in 2013-14 with the rule changes to free up play, free throws were a big story in the contest as Belmont hit 33 shots in 52 trips to the line. The Bisons on the other hand only went to the charity stripe 19 times on the night sinking nine.
“Anytime your opponent shoots 52 free throws, makes 24 more than you do, has 14 more posessions by virtue of turnovers, and it’s a one-point ballgame with a minute to go says a lot about the heart and soul of your team,” noted Alexander.
Redshirt junior Carter Sanderson led the Bisons with 21 points off the bench hitting 8-of-12 shots from the field including a trio of three-pointers.
“Carter gave us a lot of lifts,” said Alexander. “He hit some critical baskets down the stretch. Every time we needed something it seemed like he came through with something. That’s what you’ve got to have in games like this.”
Redshirt freshman J.C. Hampton added 20 points going 8-of-12 on the night including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc.
The Bisons also got double figures from junior twin forwards Malcolm and Martin Smith, who scored 14 and 10 points respectively. Senior guard Khion Sankey added an 11-point, 11-rebound, double-double off the bench to round out the double-figure scoring for Lipscomb.
Belmont was led by guard JJ Mann’s 21-point effort that matched Sanderson for the game high including a pair of free throws that broke open an 82-82 tie with 1:26 remaining. Drew Windler added 16 points for the Bruins as all five starters finished in double figures.
Powered by Sankey’s 11 boards, Lipscomb won the rebound battle 42-27 and converted 11 offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points. The rebounding advantage would not be enough to overcome the turnover deficit however, as Belmont converted 24 Lipscomb turnovers into 26 points.
The Bisons continue action at home on Monday night hosting Oakland City at 6 p.m. at Allen Arena. The game is set to air live on ESPN3 as well as 94.9 Game 2. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.lipscombtickets.com or call 615-966-HERD (4373)
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