|March 01, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||JU||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.418 (23-55)||.458 (27-59)|
|3P FG Percentage||.333 (7-21)||.321 (9-28)|
|FT Percentage||.818 (9-11)||1.000 (14-14)|
MATHEWS - 4
HOGAN - 2
BUCKLAND - 1
COOPER - 1
NASHVILLE – For the first time in 12 years, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team is headed to the ASUN Championship Final.
After falling in the semifinals in each of the past three seasons, the Bisons (22-9) finally got back over the hump with a 77-62 victory over third-seeded Jacksonville Thursday night in Allen Arena. The Bisons never trailed in the game.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “I’m really happy for our players and staff who have put in a lot of hard work. As with any season, there’s some ups and downs, but I love where we’re sitting right now.
“We’ve got a really good team on their home floor that we’ve got to go play. We understand that, but what else would you rather do.”
Lipscomb will travel to top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast, who shot 55-percent and knocked down 13 threes in a 95-72 victory over North Florida in the other semifinal of the ASUN Championship. Tipoff on Sunday is set for 2 p.m. (CT) and the game will air live on ESPN.
“Former players, former staff, so much has gone into it,” Alexander said. “We’ve got a lot of really loyal fans who’ve stuck through some tough times. We’ve got more and more of them coming back which is great.
“I’m happy for the Lipscomb community. It’s what you want to do as a coach and as a program. You want to represent your school well. And we get a chance to do that on a national level on Sunday. It’s been too long since this bunch has been back, but hopefully this is the first of many to come.”
ASUN All-Conference First-Teamers Garrison Mathews and Rob Marberry once again led the way for Lipscomb. The juniors scored 23 and 12 points, respectively.
Mathews hit 7-of-10 from the field and added five three-pointers, five rebounds and four assists, while Marberry notched three boards and assists.
Lipscomb started out with an early lead and never looked back as it held JU to just 32.1 percent from the floor in the first half as the Bisons build a 39-25 lead at the break. The lead was bolstered by the fact that the Dolphins opened the night just 2-for-13 shooting over the first eight minutes.
The highlight of the night came from junior Eli Pepper as he hammered home a monstrous dunk that brought the crowd to their feet late in the first half. Pepper nearly grabbed a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.
The second half saw the visitors gain a little spark while shooting nearly 52-percent from the field, however, it was never enough as Lipscomb’s lead stayed at double-digits the rest of the way.
Junior Matt Rose added 11 points, while sophomore Kenny Cooper scored 10 points and swiped five steals, tying his career high.
Cody Helgeland paced the Dolphins with 24 points, while Jalyn Hinton had 12.
- Lipscomb outshot JU 46 percent (27-59) to 42 percent (23-55).
- The Bisons knocked down nine long balls, while the Dolphins hit seven.
- A strong point for the Bisons all season has been the ability to knock down shots from the charity stripe. Thursday, they went 14-of-14.
- Lipscomb dominated in the pain, 34-28 and was credited with 19 assists and nine steals.
- Matt Rose chipped in 11 points, while Kenny Cooper added 10.
Lipscomb will be heading down to Fort Myers, Florida for the ASUN Championship game against FGCU. The final will take place on Sunday at 2:00 p.m., and will be broadcasted on ESPN.