Men's basketball set to renew Belmont rivalry on Tuesday night
Monday, November 28, 2016
Men's basketball set to renew Belmont rivalry on Tuesday night

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb men's basketball team concludes a run of five games away from Allen Arena on Tuesday night with the 139th episode of the “Battle of the Boulevard” taking on Belmont at 7 p.m. at the Curb Event Center in Nashville.

The Purple and Gold own a 73-65 edge in the series that dates back to 1953. Lipscomb heads into Tuesday night on a nine-game skid against the Bruins that ties the longest winning streak for either team in the series.

The game will air on the OVC Digital Network with Greg Sage, Spencer Turner and Madison Blevins calling the action.

Herd notes:

  • The Lipscomb-Belmont rivalry is the closest basketball rivalry in NCAA DIvision I as the two schools are separated by just two miles. Cincinnati/Xavier and Rice/Houston each sit three miles apart.
  • The ties between the two coaching staffs are deep with Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander having starred on the court for the Bruins from 1991-95 before joining Rick Byrd’s staff for 16 seasons. Bisons assistant coach Steve Drabyn was also a standout guard for Belmont from 2000-04 and was recently inducted into the Belmont Athletics Hall of Fame. Lipscomb associate head coach Roger Idstrom also spent from 2000-11 on the Belmont bench as one of Byrd’s assistants.  Belmont assistant coach Brian Ayers suited up for the Bisons from 1989-93 under legendary coach Don Meyer.
  • Alexander enters the contest looking for his first win against his mentor having gone winless in eight previous attempts.
  • After setting the school record for 3-pointers made in 2015-16 (331), the Bisons aerial attack is in full swing again this season. With seven games in the books, Lipscomb ranks 15th in the NCAA with 65 treys made so far.
  • Scoring 21 points in the final 20 minutes of play, sophomore guard Garrison Mathews matched his career with a 27-point effort in the Bisons loss at Morehead St.
  • Fellow newcomer Michael Buckland also narrowly missed a double-double in his debut in Purple and Gold nothing eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
  • Sophomore forward Eli Pepper returned to the lineup against Piedmont after missing the first two contests with an injury. Prior to missing those pair of contests, Pepper had started all 33 games he had played in.
  • The Bisons were tabbed to finish fourth in ASUN league standings by a vote of the league coaches. That was two slots higher than the media, who predicted a sixth-place finish for Lipscomb. Both groups forecasted a first-place finish for reigning tournament champion FGCU.
  • The league skippers voted senior guard Josh Williams onto the preseason All-ASUN team. Williams returns for his final campaign after becoming the fastest player in the NCAA era to reach the 1,000 point mark last season.  Williams became the 45th member of the exclusive club before a knee-injury sidelined him before the Christmas break.  Williams returned to the Lipscomb lineup against Sewanee scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds. 
  • Williams sits 37th all-time in scoring with 1,148 after surpassing Jordan Burgason, who ranks 39th with 1,132 in the Piedmont game. The senior trails Ricky Bowers by three points.
  • Lipscomb returns 74.1 percent of the offense from 2015-16 that nailed an NCAA era school record 331 shots from beyond the arc. The Bisons also set the school mark for most points in a season with 2,590.
  • Nearly half of the Lipscomb roster is from the Nashville metropolitan area. Seven players (Rob Marberry - Nashville, Cam Miller - Franklin, Nathan Moran - Franklin, Asa Duvall - Brentwood, John Matt Merritt - Nashville, Kenny Cooper - Nashville, Garrison Mathews) call the Music City home.