|February 15, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||STET|
|FG Percentage||.540 (27-50)||.397 (27-68)|
|3P FG Percentage||.348 (8-23)||.391 (9-23)|
|FT Percentage||.741 (20-27)||.667 (10-15)|
ANINYE - 5
DOYLE - 5
MATHEWS - 3
COOPER - 2
DELAND, Fla. – Lipscomb men’s basketball officially clinched a home game in the first round of the ASUN Conference Championship with an 82-73 win over Stetson Thursday night at the Edmunds Center.
The win puts the Bisons (18-9, 8-4 ASUN) two games clear of the field behind them in the league standings with two regular season games to play. Stetson falls to 11-18 and 3-9 with the loss.
“I told our team after the game that wining is not easy, especially on the road,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “We are glad to walk out of there with a win.
“Since we can’t win the ASUN regular season, the best thing we can do in order to put ourselves in the best situation possible is to finish at the No. 2 seed and host a first round game. We did that tonight. Now we have to prepare ourselves to win the next one and keep this momentum rolling.”
Junior guard Garrison Mathews was on fire early, scoring 10 points in the first six minutes of action to put the Bisons on top 17-13. He hit his first three attempts from the floor, as well as a trio of shots from the charity stripe.
The Hatters ensued on a 14-3 run to grab their biggest lead of the night at 27-20 with 9:21 to play in the first half, but the battle-tested Bisons fought their way back behind Kenny Cooper’s run of six straight points to go into the locker room up 36-33.
“It was nice to take some momentum into the half,” Alexander said. “I thought for the last 30 minutes of the game, we played great basketball. Early on we both were scoring points and it felt like we let the game slip a little, but our guys began to make some stops and things turned in our favor.”
In the second half Lipscomb never really put the Hatters away, despite shooting nearly 70 percent and building its largest lead at 12 points with 6:03 remaining.
“We were surprised they played zone against us, so that’s on me,” Alexander said. “I should have prepared for that, but they never play 40 minutes of zone against anyone.
“At half I challenged our guys offensively. I told them ‘Stetson plays zone because they don’t think you can beat them.’ Everyone saw the way we responded.”
The home team chipped away down the stretch and cut Lipscomb’s lead to 75-73 after back-to-back three-pointers from Christiaan Jones on his career night, but like they have done all season long, the Bisons iced the game on the charity stripe – like good teams do.
The Purple and Gold drained 8-of-10 from the line in the final 1:10 of action to clinch the victory.
Mathews was one of five Bisons to score in double figures, leading the way with 17, but the player of the night for Lipscomb was Aaron Korn.
The senior led the charge from the bench and barley missed a double-double with 11 points and a career-high nine rebounds. He was 3-of-4 from the floor, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and 3-of-4 at the line.
“I love what Aaron has given us lately,” Alexander said. “He is finding ways to contribute every time he steps on the floor. Tonight, the bench production in general – in terms of minutes – was important. John Matt (Merritt) hit a big three and so did Greg (Jones).
“They gave us great production in the second half. When fatigue set in for Stetson, it didn’t for us.”
- The Bisons have won three straight games, and seven of their last eight.
- Lipscomb outshot Steson from the floor – 54.0 to 39.7 – while making 27-of-50 field goal attempts.
- Thursday marked the 14th game this season that the Bisons have made at least eight three-pointers.
- Mathews will enter Saturday’s matchup four points shy of tying Josh Slater (1,602) for second most on the program’s career scoring list in the NCAA era.
- Eli Pepper and Kenny Cooper each scored 13 and combined to shoot 11-of-15 from the floor.
- Rob Marberry, coming off a 39-point effort last weekend, chipped in 10 points on four made baskets.
- The eight blocked shots were a season high for the Bisons. Cooper and Marberry led the way with two each.
- Lipscomb has scored exactly 82 points in three straight games.
- The Bisons made 20-of-27 free throws, while the Hatters finished 10-of-15. It’s the ninth contest this season that Lipscomb has made 20+ shots from the charity stripe.
- Lipscomb outrebounded Stetson 39-33, marking the 19th time they have pulled down more board than its opponent this season.
Lipscomb continues its trip to south Florida for the team’s final road game of the regular season, when it takes on ASUN Champion Florida Gulf Coast at 6 p.m. Saturday in Fort Myers.
“You can’t beat them at home unless you play a full game on both ends, and are willing to play through their runs,” Alexander said. “FGCU makes plays no other team in our league can make. We will have to keep a level head and make it an ugly, dirty game.
“Fortunately for us, that is when we are at our best.”