|February 03, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||NJIT||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.491 (28-57)||.424 (28-66)|
|3P FG Percentage||.526 (10-19)||.353 (6-17)|
|FT Percentage||.625 (15-24)||.682 (15-22)|
TARKE - 27
PEPPER - 3
MATHEWS - 3
PEPPER - 1
MATHEWS - 1
BRAMMEIER - 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Despite leading the game for 32 minutes, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team was unable to stave off a late rally by NJIT to drop an 81-77 ASUN Conference tilt inside Allen Arena Saturday afternoon. The loss halts a season best four-game win streak for the Bisons.
With the Bisons (15-9, 5-4 ASUN) leading by 10 points at the last media timeout, the Highlanders (12-12, 5-4 ASUN) mounted a 15-1 run over the final 3:36 to escape Music City with a victory and leave the 1,650 in attendance in a stunned silence.
“It was not a pretty media timeout there at the end,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “We were up 10 and the only thing that’s left to do in that situation is execute, be ready to make free throws and be tough defensively. Tonight, we didn’t do that.
“We had some real empty possessions where we didn’t try and run the offense and we forced things. NJIT made some tough shots at the end, they performed like you are supposed to. Give them credit for winning the game. We’ll find a way to get better so this doesn’t happen next time.”
Garrison Mathews, the ASUN’s leading scorer, had a big game with 28 points and nine rebounds, but he found himself on the bench for the final 1:06 after fouling out of a game for the first time this season.
When the junior exited the court Lipscomb was trying to extend a 77-75 lead, but on the other end of the floor, the Highlanders got a big three-pointer from sophomore Anthony Tarke to give NJIT its first lead since the 12:29 mark in the first half. From there the visitors from the Garden State tacked on three free throws to seal the decision.
“It’s not about the wild moments or putting together 10-0 runs, it’s about just being as good as you can be possession by possession and the best team usually wins when that’s the case,” Alexander said. “We did that for the first 15 or so minutes of the first half and the second half, but we didn’t do it for 40 minutes and that cost us tonight.”
Joining Mathews in double figures was sophomore guards Kenny Cooper with 13 and Michael Buckland with 11, as well as junior forward Rob Marberry with 10.
For the visitors, it was a two-man show with Tarke and Abdul Lewis each pouring in a career high 27 points. Lewis also pulled down a career high 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
“They are really good players and we didn’t do a good enough job,” Alexander said. “That’s too many shot attempts, that’s too may rebounds and too many points, especially when they are throwing it to them every time. Those guys go 20-for-35 and score 54 points between them, that’s not very good.”
- NJIT outshot Lipscomb from the floor 49.1 percent to 42.4 percent.
- The Highlanders went 10-of-19 from beyond the arc, compared to just 6-of-17 for the Bisons.
- Lipscomb cleaned up on the glass, outrebounding the opponent 45-31. The +14 margin is the second highest of the season for the Bisons.
- The Purple and Gold also controlled the paint, outscoring NJIT 44-28.
- The 10-point effort halts a four-game streak of 20-plus points for Marberry. He finished the game 5-of-15 from the field.
- Junior forward Eli Pepper pulled down a team high 10 rebounds, giving him three straight outings with double-digit boards.
- The game went into the intermission tied at 37-37 after the Highlanders strung together another big 12-2 run to close the first 20 minutes of action.
- Lipscomb missed its final 12 attempts from the field.
The Bisons continue their three-game home stand Thursday, February 8 when Jacksonville visits Allen Arena for a 6:30 p.m. tip. The Dolphins will come to Nashville in second place in the ASUN and one game ahead of Lipscomb. Following that meeting, the Purple and Gold will host North Florida at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
“Those are two really good teams,” Alexander said. “They throttled us at their places, which was our lowest moments of the season for sure. It shouldn’t be difficult for us to get their attention and feel like we have something to prove after the way we ended this one, combined with the way we played those two games in Jacksonville.”