|November 15, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||BEL||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.548 (34-62)||.444 (28-63)|
|3P FG Percentage||.409 (9-22)||.381 (8-21)|
|FT Percentage||.625 (10-16)||.731 (19-26)|
MCCLAIN - 2
MORAN - 1
PEPPER - 1
NASHVILLE – The Lipscomb men’s basketball team continues home action Thursday night hosting the 143rd installment of the “Battle of the Boulevard” as Belmont comes to Allen Arena for a 6:30 p.m. tip.
Lipscomb looks to build on its 7-point victory over Tennessee State where the Bisons got a career-high 24 points from Kenny Cooper, 23 points from Garrison Mathews and a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double from Eli Pepper to improve to 2-0 for the second consecutive year.
Thursday night’s game from Don Meyer Court will be aired live on ESPN+ with father-son duo Jonathan and Justin Seamon calling the action.
Battle of the Boulevard tickets are available by visiting http://www.LipscombTickets.com or calling 615-946-HERD (4373).
- Lipscomb owns a 75-67 series lead against Belmont all-time.
- The Bisons swept the Bruins in two meeting last season, ending an 11-game win streak in the series for Belmont.
- Lipscomb knocked off the Bruins 74-66 at the Curb Event Center in the first meeting of 2017 after building a 17-point second half lead. Garrison Mathews had a 22-point effort to go along with an 18-point night from Rob Marberry. This was the first win for Casey Alexander over his alma mater in 11 tries.
- In the second meeting last season, the Bisons forced 21 turnovers and claimed a 69-54 victory at Allen Arena, as Mathews erupted for a team-high 26 points. It marked the first time since 2009-10 that Lipscomb swept the season series against Belmont.
- Belmont comes to Allen Arena Thursday 2-0 on the year.
- After knocking off Illinois State 100-89 last Saturday in the season opener at the Curb Event Center, the Bruins trekked to Murfreesboro and got a 92-73 victory over a new-look Middle Tennessee club.
- Belmont lost a ton of production last season with the departures of All-OVC performers Amanze Egekeze and Austin Luke. The former scored 1,350 career points, while Luke ranks second in league history with 681 assists.
- The Bruins welcome 10 newcomers this season, the most ever under Byrd in the program’s NCAA era. Only four Division I programs (FAU, Seattle, Missouri State, Duquesne) have more this season.
- Belmont is led by senior All-America candidate Dylan Windler, who was named the preseason OVC Player of the Year and landed on the Julius Erving Award Watch List. He was the only player in the country last season to average 17.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 40% from deep.
- Windler has gotten off to an even better start in 2018-19 where after two games he is averaging 27.0 points, 8.5 boards and 1.5 steals per game. He’s also shooting 57.6% from the floor and has a team-high 12 made free throws. He is 15th across Division I in scoring.
- Windler scored 20 against ISU before pulling down a double-double with 34 points and 11 rebounds against the Blue Raiders Monday.
- Nick Muszynski is second on the team this season with 18.0 points per game, followed by 14.5 from Caleb Hollander. Muszynski ranks seventh in the nation averaging 4.0 blocks.
- Grayson Murphy is nearly pouring in a double-double with 14.0 points and 9.0 assists each time out. He is also second on the team with 7.5 rebounds.
- Preseason All-OVC pick Kevin McClain is the fifth player in double figures at 12.0 points per game. He is 17th in the country with an 8.00 assist-turnover ratio.
- The Bruins rank among the nation’s leaders in multiple categories after two games: assists per game (23.5 – 10th), assist-turnover ratio (1.88 – 23rd), scoring offense (96.0 – 27th), total assists (47 – 31st) and field goal percentage (52.9 – 38th).
- The Lipscomb-Belmont rivalry is the closest basketball rivalry in NCAA DIvision I as the two schools are separated by just two miles. Cincinnati/Xavier and Rice/Houston each sit three miles apart.
- The ties between the two coaching staffs are deep with Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander having starred on the court for the Bruins from 1991-95 before joining Rick Byrd’s staff for 16 seasons.
- Bisons assistant coach Steve Drabyn was also a standout guard for Belmont from 2000-04 and was inducted into the Belmont Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016. He was an All-Atlantic Sun selection and led the nation in field goal percentage in 2003. He also ranks ninth on the Bruins’ NCAA era scoring list with 1,237 points.
- Lipscomb associate head coach Roger Idstrom also spent from 2000-11 on the Belmont bench as one of Byrd’s assistants. Belmont assistant coach Brian Ayers suited up for the Bisons from 1989-93 under legendary coach Don Meyer. Ayers coached with Alexander at Belmont from 1998-2011 and Idstrom from 2000-11.
- Alexander enters the contest 2-10 against his mentor. He is 2-8 with Lipscomb after going 0-2 as the head man at Stetson.
- Lipscomb is 1-4 against the Bruins at Allen Arena under Alexander. The win came last season.
- Following Thursday’s Battle of the Boulevard, the Bisons will open a 5-game road trip that spans across Texas, Kentucky and Tennessee. It will be the longest stretch of road games this season.
STATS AND NOTES
- Lipscomb is off to a 2-0 start for the second straight season. Prior to last season, the Bisons had not opened 2-0 since 2006.
- Following a 97-53 win over Sewanee in the season opener, Lipscomb downed crosstown rival Tennessee State 86-79 on homecoming weekend.
- Preseason ASUN Player of the Year Garrison Mathews paces the way for the Bisons with 19.5 points per game on 52% shooting from the floor. The senior guard is 12-of-13 (.923) from the charity stripe and is pulling down 4.5 boards each time out. He leads four Bisons who are averaging double-figures in points.
- Redshirt freshman Ahsan Asadullah and Kenny Cooper are chipping in 15.0 points each. Asadullah is second on the squad with 6.5 boards, while Cooper ranks ninth nationally with 4.5 steals each time out.
- Cooper set a career high with seven swipes in the opener against Sewanee. It was part of a 20-theft night for the Bisons - the second most in a single game in the NCAA era (24 vs. Oakland City in 2008).
- Eli Pepper is averaging a double-double from the low post. The senior rebounding machine is pouring in 13.0 points and pulling down 11.5 boards (27th in D1). He recorded a monster 19-point, 17-rebound effort against TSU last weekend. It matched the second-highest rebound total of his career.
- Pepper ranks 32th in the nation behind an 8.0-rebound per game average.
- Lipscomb’s 13.5 steals per game is the seventh-best total in the country. Its 27 total swipes rank 16th.
- Nate Moran adds a wealth of experience and leadership this season after returning from injury a year ago. He enters Thursday 12 points shy of 1,000 for his career (988).
- Lipscomb was tabbed the ASUN Conference preseason favorite by a vote of the league’s skippers and the league’s media members. The Bisons return their top six scorers from a season ago.
- The Purple and Gold return one of the most-experience teams in the country as 91.5 percent of the offense is back from a team that ranked 23rdin the nation averaging 82.1 points per game.
- With a total of 6,223 points, the Bisons have the most career points on the roster than any other team in the country. Kansas State is second with 4,770.
- Lipscomb also returned 92 percent of its assists from a year ago when the Bisons averaged 15.7 per game.
- Mathews enters Thursday with 1,516 career points, most among all active ASUN players. He led the league with 21.7 points per outing last season.
Following the Battle of the Boulevard, the Bisons will spend the next 24 days on the road before playing back in Allen Arena on Dec. 9.
The 5-game road swing begins with a 6 p.m. tip Saturday in Dallas, Texas against SMU. They will then continue their tour of Texas with a 30-minute trip west to Fort Worth where they will lock horns with TCU next Tuesday. The Bisons and Horned Frogs will throw things up at 7 p.m.