|December 30, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||CU|
|FG Percentage||.412 (21-51)||.453 (29-64)|
|3P FG Percentage||.313 (5-16)||.304 (7-23)|
|FT Percentage||.714 (20-28)||.792 (19-24)|
SIMMS - 8
COOPER - 2
COOPER - 1
CLEMSON, S.C. – Playing its final nonconference contest of the year, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team was unable to overcome a sluggish first half in an 84-67 loss to Clemson Sunday afternoon inside Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, South Carolina.
The Bisons (9-4) were plagued by 17 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes and attempted 14 less field goals than the Tigers (10-3) to help Clemson build a 46-27 lead at the break.
“Turnovers affected us in a big way, and I give them (Clemson) credit for that,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “Anyone who watches our team play, knows it was uncharacteristic of us. Our assist-turnovers have been really good all year, but they took us out of what we wanted to do early.
“Our response was more panic than it was to settle in. We have to do a better job next time.”
The second half was a different story as Lipscomb stormed out of the locker room and began chipping away at the deficit in the first five minutes. Junior point guard Kenny Cooper highlighted a 12-2 run for the Bisons with buckets on three straight trips down the floor to pull within single digits at 52-43, but that would be as close as they would get as Clemson quickly pushed its lead back to 18.
After a trio of three-pointers from seniors Nate Moran and Eli Pepper pulled the purple and gold back to within 12 with seven minutes remaining, the Tigers put together a 7-0 run and never looked back.
“We just needed to play better in the second half because we thought we could still win the game,” Alexander said. “We cut the margin significantly at the first media timeout just by being more solid and not making mistakes, but over the course of 40 minutes Clemson was a lot better than we were.”
Senior guard Garrison Mathews, the reigning ASUN Player of the Week, led the Bisons with a 19-point afternoon, his fourth straight game with 20-plus points. Mathews pulled down six rebounds and hit 9-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Mathews was joined in double figures by senior Rob Marberry, who had 13 on 6-of-13 shooting.
The Tigers knocked down 29-of-64 shot attempts for a 45-percent clip, while the Bisons hit 21-of-51 for 41-percent.
One of five Tigers in double figures, Marcquise Reed led all players with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He also contributed six rebounds, five assists and five steals. David Skara added 17 points, four rebounds and three steals.
“We have to learn from this without doubt,” Alexander said. “When things get difficult, experience should show up. You should be able to quickly make adjustments and gather yourself and be who you are and play to the standard you have set.”
- After turning the ball over 17 times in the first half, Lipscomb committed only six miscues in the second half. Clemson held a 29-18 edge in points off turnovers.
- The Tigers used their height advantage to a 42-31 edge in rebounding, including nine offensive boards. They also blocked six Lipscomb attempts and outscored the Bisons 10-0 in second chance points.
- Cooper added nine points, three steals and two assists in a team-high 30 minutes of action.
- Pepper chipped in eight points and eight rebounds. He is now 13 boards shy of becoming Lipscomb’s all-time rebounder in the program’s NCAA era. Adnan Hodzic leads the way with 840.
- Neither team was especially great from long range. Lipscomb hit 5-of-16 attempts while Clemson nailed 7-of-23.
- Ten different players scored for the Bisons and nine grabbed a rebound.
Lipscomb opens ASUN Conference play next Saturday on the road at Jacksonville. The Bisons and Dolphins will get things going at 5 p.m. inside historic Swisher Gymnasium on ESPN+.
“We have 16 conference games and Jacksonville is the first one for us,” Alexander said. “Everyone in the country flips the page and starts over.
“What I remember most about Jacksonville is going down there last year and getting throttled. Hopefully we will be a little more prepared and play a little better this time around.”