|February 10, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||UNF||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.528 (28-53)||.446 (33-74)|
|3P FG Percentage||.458 (11-24)||.200 (4-20)|
|FT Percentage||.727 (8-11)||.667 (12-18)|
MATHEWS - 6
COOPER - 6
COOPER - 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The 1,692 in attendance to watch the Lipscomb men’s basketball team take on North Florida Saturday evening inside Allen Arena got their money’s worth. Every penny of it.
In an ASUN Conference matchup that has quickly become a heated rivalry, the Bisons sent the crowd home happy with an 82-75 comeback victory.
“I really appreciate everyone coming out, it made a huge difference,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “We had a lot of students out and it created a great buzz. It was an awesome day of basketball and I am glad we were able to reward them with a good win.”
The win moved Lipscomb to 17-9 overall and 7-4 in the ASUN, putting the Bisons into sole possession of second place in the ASUN standings. The loss dropped North Florida to 11-17 and 5-6.
On a night where the Bisons struggled from the outside, Alexander’s plan of attack shifted to the paint, primarily to Rob Marberry. The junior forward scored a career high 39 points and shot lights out from the floor, dropping in 18 of his 24 field goal attempts.
In the end, every point was needed from Marberry as his counterpart, the ASUN’s leading scorer, Garrison Mathews posted his worst shooting performance of the season by only knocking down 1-of-15 shot attempts from the floor.
“That’s probably the most atypical part of the night,” said Alexander. “He goes 1-for-15 with some good looks and he got frustrated at times, but I am going to go glass half full on this one. He needs to understand, and we need to understand, we have a dang good team even if he’s not getting us 20-something.
“We’ve got to learn to embrace that, because we know he’s going to deliver more times than not.”
Mathews ended up with nine points after going 1-of-8 from behind the arc and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
The Ospreys jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead in the first 3:26 of the game before Kenny Cooper knocked down a free throw to get the home team on the board. UNF built its largest lead of the game to 12 points midway through the opening half before Lipscomb eventually began chipping away.
Down 10 with under five minutes to play in the first half, the Purple and Gold reeled off a 14-2 run, capped by a pair of free throws from Mathews to grab the first lead of the game. UNF hit a layup with under a minute to play to send the game into the break tied at 39-39.
“We had 18 deflections at half time which was a season high for us,” Alexander said. “We tried to change something to start the game, which was my fault, but when we went back to the traditional way of guarding things we settled down and was much, much cleaner the last 32 minutes of the game.”
The second half saw the teams trade buckets for much of the period, but in the end Marberry was too much to handle. His layup with 3:27 to play put Lipscomb on top 72-70 and the Bisons never looked back.
Marberry scored 27 points after halftime on 12-of-14 shooting and his two free throws with 16 seconds to play sealed the victory.
Lipscomb came away with a season high 13 steals compared to just one from North Florida.
“We executed and were pretty mistake-free down the stretch defensively,” Alexander said. “That’s what we have to hang our hat on, because it’s already hard enough to guard.”
The Ospreys shot 59.1 percent from the floor in the second half, but the Bisons limited them to 13 fewer shot attempts.
- The win ended a four-game skid for Lipscomb in the series, and it marked just the second victory over the Ospreys in the last 10 meetings.
- Lipscomb hit 44.6 percent from the floor on 33-of-74 shooting, while UNF hit 52.8 percent on 28-of-53.
- The home team made a living going inside, outscoring UNF 58-32 in the paint.
- The Bisons outrebounded the Ospreys 35-34, including 13-3 on the offensive end.
- Marberry reached 20+ points for the fifth time in his last seven games.
- Mathews ended a 17-game streak of scoring in double-digits. His nine points was his third fewest of the season.
- Kenny Cooper was the only other Bison to reach double figures in the scoring column with 11 points. He also chipped in three steals and six assists.
- Michael Buckland only scored three points on 1-of-7 shooting, but he made his mark with six rebounds, six assists and three steals.
- Aaron Korn notched five points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
- Matt Rose added seven points, four rebounds, and three assists.
- Eli Pepper only played 20 minutes, and he recorded six points and five boards.
The Bisons head south for their final roadswing of the season this next weekend with trips to Stetson and ASUN champion Florida Gulf Coast. Lipscomb takes on the Hatters at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15 in DeLand, before traveling to Fort Myers to face the Eagles at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s time,” Alexander said. “The name of the game right now is to win. You want to keep playing better and building momentum so you can carry it right into the postseason.”