|February 26, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||STET||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.436 (24-55)||.464 (32-69)|
|3P FG Percentage||.250 (6-24)||.438 (14-32)|
|FT Percentage||.679 (19-28)||.733 (11-15)|
DOYLE - 3
IYIOLA - 1
WEBB - 1
GOODMAN - 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – From the very first basket of the game it was clear that the long ball would be working for the Bisons as Lipscomb defeated Stetson 89-73 in the first round of the ASUN Men’s Basketball Tournament at Allen Arena on Monday night.
The Bisons (21-9) got out to a hot start at the beginning of each half, hitting the bulk of their 14 three-pointers in those stretches.
“I am proud of our team tonight,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “I am proud of the way we came out in the second half. It wasn’t anything powerful, but it was just methodical. This was a good team win.”
Lipscomb started the game on a 6-0 run to begin the game. After some foul trouble forced the Bisons to go to the bench with a 32-16 advantage, the visiting Hatters stormed back with a 20-4 run late in the first to take a 43-41 lead with under a minute to play in the half.
Fortunately for Lipscomb, senior guard Aaron Korn knocked down a three from the left corner to not only send the home team into the locker room with a 44-43 lead, but to swing the momentum back in the Purple and Gold’s favor.
“I felt like we lost some energy in the first half when they (Stetson) went to the zone, and it snowballed on us from there,” Alexander said. “But the three from Aaron right before half was a huge momentum changer. I felt like we used that to help take the air out of Stetson early in the second half.”
Behind early buckets from Rob Marberry, the Bisons came out strong in the second half by winning the first nine possessions and using a 10-0 run to extend their lead back to double-digits. A three ball from Divine Myles at the 15:33 mark brought Stetson back to within eight, but that would be as close as the Hatters would come.
“What I told our players was, they were the ones that built a 16-point lead, not Stetson,” Alexander said. “Go play like you are the better team. It’s a long game and we all understand the ebbs and flows of basketball. I thought we let the worry sink in a little in the first half, but they relaxed and just played ball in the second.”
Stetson hit just two of its first 10 shots from the floor in the second half as Lipscomb built its largest lead of the night at 75-53 with eight minutes to play.
Junior guard Garrison Mathews carried the Bisons offense with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting. The unanimous first-team All-ASUN selection also added five rebounds and five assists in just 28 minutes of action.
The Bisons got a big lift off the bench as junior sharpshooter Matt Rose knocked down a career-high tying five treys to add 15 off the pine.
“That’s what Matt does best, that’s why he’s in the game,” Alexander said. “We need him to do more than that, but anytime he can deliver and play his role well, that is a huge lift for our team.”
Rose also knocked down five triples in the Jan. 20 regular-season meeting with the Hatters.
Marberry, also a first team All-ASUN selection, nearly notched his second consecutive double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
With the win the Bisons advance to their fourth-straight appearance in the ASUN semifinals. Alexander thinks the past experience will only help this squad make the jump into the finals.
“It’s a box that we need to check off,” Alexander said. “We’ve been a good team and have played in the semifinals the last three seasons, so advancing to the finals is the next step. We have more winning experience to take into the game, so that’s the mentality I want us to take into Thursday.”
- Lipscomb outscored Stetson 24-5 in the first 10 minutes of action in the second half.
- Mathews recorded his 19th game of 20 or more points this season. He now has 37 career 20-point games, which is most among active players in the ASUN.
- With 1,654 career points, Mathews sits 25th on the league’s career scoring list, and second on Lipscomb’s NCAA era list.
- The 14 three-pointers were the second most of the season for Lipscomb. It hit 16 in the win over Fisk.
- The Bisons outshot the Hatters 46% (32-69) to 44% (24-55).
- Stetson outrebounded Lipscomb 39-36, but it was the Bisons who dominated in ball possession.
- The Bisons recorded 22 assists to only 11 turnovers, while the Hatters turned the ball over 18 times and only notched 12 assists. Lipscomb scored 26 points off Stetson’s miscues.
- Lipscomb led for 38:38 of Monday night’s quarterfinal, and only trailed for 40 seconds.
The Bisons continue ASUN Tournament action on Thursday, March 1 with a semifinal matchup against No. 3 Jacksonville in the Music City.
The Dolphins took down No. 6 Kennesaw State, 87-68, in the first round Monday night.
“Jacksonville will have their best player and point guard back on Thursday, when he didn’t play against us here last time,” Alexander said. “That will be the biggest challenge for us. We should expect it to be a grind-it-out, last-man-standing conference semifinal. It’s going to be fun.”