SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Lipscomb men’s basketball team heads to Spartanburg, South Carolina on Monday night for a 6 p.m. ASUN Conference affair against USC Upstate at the G.B. Hodge Center.
The contest will be the 23rd all-time meeting between the two schools and the final regular-season affair as the Spartans will bolt the ASUN for the Southern Conference at season’s end. Lipscomb holds a 13-9 edge in the series that dates back to 2008.
The game will air live on ESPN3.
- Casey Alexander enters Monday night’s contest on the cusp of notching his 100th career win. Alexander owns 75 wins on the Bisons bench to go alongside 24 during his first two seasons as a head coach with Stetson. He would join North Florida’s Mathew Driscoll and FGCU’s Joe Dooley as the only coaches with 100 or more wins in the ASUN.
- Junior guard Garrison Mathews enters Monday’s game as the leading scorer in the ASUN averaging 22.0 points per game overall and 23.8 per outing in league play. Mathews opened conference action on Jan. 13 with a 43-point, 13-rebound effort against Kennesaw State that broke his own NCAA era record for points in a game and then posted a 32-point effort at North Florida. The 43-point effort ranks tied for the sixth most in a game this season. Mathews ranks 14th nationally in scoring and sixth among juniors.
- Mathews picked up a trio of weekly awards for his efforts against Kennesaw and Fisk to start the month. He was named the Lou Henson Award National Midmajor Player of the Week, the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Player of the Week and the ASUN Player of the Week. The league award was the fourth this season for the Franklin, Tennessee native and fifth of his career tying former Lipscomb great Adnan Hodzic for the most in school history.
- Mathews had a stretch of 10 games going back to the home game against Belmont on Dec. 4 where he scored 20-plus points in each game. That run came to an end last against FGCU as the Eagles held the sharpshooter to just 15. Over that 10-game stretch, Mathews averaged 26.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg.
- Mathews has made a steady climb up the career scoring chart this season surpassing Jordan Burgason and Malcolm Smith. With 1,496 entering Saturday’s contest he sits just 10 back of former teammate Josh Williams, who ranks third in the NCAA era with 1,506. Mathews would become just the 21st player all-time at Lipscomb to reach the 1,500 point mark.
- The 11-6 start to the season for the Bisons was 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 was also an NCAA era best for the Purple and Gold.
- 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 recently surpassed Brown and trails only Hodzic on the list
- 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.