KENNESAW, Ga. – The Lipscomb men’s basketball team is set to open ASUN Conference play on Saturday afternoon taking on Kennesaw State at 3:30 p.m. at the KSU Convocation Center in Kennesaw, Ga.
The meeting will be the 25th contest all-time between the two schools with the Bisons owning a 17-7 advantage in the series having won 12 of the last 14 against the Owls. The game will air live on ESPN3.
- Lipscomb owns an 8-5 mark in league lid lifters
- The Bisons open ASUN play with three consecutive road games at Kennesaw State, North Florida and Jacksonville. Lipscomb will have played 12-of-16 contests away from Allen Arena when the team returns to the Music City on Jan. 18 to host FGCU.
- The 10-5 start to the season for the Bisons is the best in the NCAA era for the team topping the previous best of 8-4 set in 2006-07. The mark is the best since 1999-00 when Lipscomb opened the season 16-0 en route to a 34-4 record and an appearance in the NAIA. The team’s 5-2 record in December is also an NCAA era best for the Purple and Gold.
- Junior guard Garrison Mathews enters Saturday’s contest as the leading scorer in the ASUN averaging 21.4 points per game. That figure ranks the junior 25th nationally overall and 7th among junior guards.
- Mathews was named the ASUN Player of the Week for the third time this season on Dec. 26 after a 27-point effort at Navy. Mathews hit 8-of-11 from the field and 8-of-9 from the line in the win. He added four rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals. Mathews is the first Bison to claim ASUN Player of the Week honors three times in one season.
- With 15 games in the books, the Bisons are ranked 29th in RPI, just a few slots lower than the highest in school history at 23. The next closest team in the ASUN is North Florida at 170. Lipscomb’s number is bolstered by a strong strength of schedule that is rated 21st toughest in the nation.
- The Bisons effort on the defensive end of the floor has been a large part of the fast start to the season. Lipscomb ranks in the top-40 nationally in both 3-point FG defense (33rd - .306) and turnovers forced (38th - 16.27 per game). Lipscomb is holding opponents to 73.8 ppg the lowest since 2007-08 when opponents were held to 70.2 ppg.
- Eli Pepper grabbed his 500th career rebound earlier in the season at Alabama. He is only the fourth player (Adnan Hodzic, Brandon Brown, Josh Slater, Malcolm Smith) in school history to have reached the plateau in the NCAA era. Pepper is just seven rebounds shy of overtaking Slate (593) for third best.
- Mathews led the way against Emory with a 37-point effort, just two points off his NCAA era record for the Bisons. The 37 points were the fourth most of any player in the country on opening night and ties former Lipscomb great Adnan Hodzic for third most in a game in the NCAA era.
- Lipscomb was predicted to post a second-place finish in the 2017-18 ASUN Conference race by a vote of the league’s skippers and the league’s media members.
- Mathews and Rob Marberry were both unanimous selections to the preseason All-ASUN team. The duo was also named All-ASUN by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.
- Mathews was also named to the 2017-18 Lou Henson Award Watch List becoming the second Lipscomb player to receive the honor. The award is handed out annually to the nation’s top mid-major player. The Franklin native was also named an honorable mention mid-major All-American by NBC Sports’ College Basketball Talk.