|January 16, 2019||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||NJIT|
|FG Percentage||.500 (29-58)||.364 (20-55)|
|3P FG Percentage||.300 (6-20)||.286 (6-21)|
|FT Percentage||.545 (6-11)||.750 (6-8)|
COOPER - 7
LEWIS - 1
WILLIS - 1
JONES - 1
GIBBS - 1
COOKS - 1
NEWARK, N.J. – Rob Marberry scored a game-high 23 points and finished 11 of 12 from the floor to lead the Lipscomb men’s basketball team to its seventh road win of the season by beating NJIT 70-52 on Wednesday night in ASUN Conference action in Newark, New Jersey.
The victory improved the Bisons to 13-4 overall and 4-0 in league play, while the Highlanders fell to 13-5 and 1-2. It was the first home loss for NJIT since November 17 and their second of the season.
“I don’t know if it’s a statement game or not, but I am pleased with the win,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “I loved our effort defensively, and felt like for most of the 40 minutes we were locked in.
“We held a good offensive team that is hard to guard to low numbers and I felt like that was the key tonight.”
Marberry went to work early, scoring the first eight points of the game to give the Bisons a lead they would never give up. The senior teamed with Ahsan Asadullah to score 20 first-half points and establish a presence down low for the Bisons.
“It was great to see Rob play with so much confidence, and he had so much success because he got high-quality shots,” Alexander said. “Combine that with Ahsan, our 5-men go over 30 between them and they go 15 of 18 from the floor. It was a tremendous output from those guys.”
Lipscomb outscored the Highlanders 46-24 in the paint.
On a night when Garrison Mathews was quiet, fellow senior Matt Rose locked in from long range to give Lipscomb a deadly inside-outside combo. Rose drained a game-high five 3-pointers and scored a season-high 17 points.
After the Highlanders scored back-to-back baskets following Marberry’s 8-0 run, Rose connected on his first attempt of the night to push the Bisons lead to 13-4.
Ten minutes later NJIT pulled to within three, before Rose responded with back-to-back treys to push Lipscomb’s advantage to 25-16 with under six minutes to play in the half.
Highlighted by a swipe and score from Kenny Cooper and a blocked shot from Michael Buckland in the final seconds, the Bisons closed the half on a 17-4 run and went to the locker room up 36-20.
The second half was back-and-forth throughout, but Mathews was finally able to get going. After being held scoreless in the opening 20 minutes, the ASUN preseason player of the year got his first bucket on a tough layup at the 17:54 mark of the second half.
Just over one minute later, the Highlanders were whistled for a pair of technical fouls and Mathews stepped up to drain all four free throws and extend the lead to 47-27.
Marberry slammed home a feed from Cooper at 7:26 to give Lipscomb its largest lead of the night at 63-34.
All year long the defense has been a staple for the Bisons and Wednesday night was no different.
They forced 21 turnovers and limited the Highlanders to a 36 percent shooting clip. Freshman Alex Jones pestered NJIT on the defensive end all game long and swiped five of the team’s 12 steals.
“As a team we were really engaged,” Alexander said. “We had guys like Alex who got his hands on a lot of balls. It was great to see him make that kind of contribution.
“To be good defensively you have to be in the right place and want to be a good teammate. Our guys are doing that right now.”
NJIT’s Zach Cooks – the ASUN’s second-leading scorer – entered the game averaging 19.0 points per game. The Bisons held him to 11, his second lowest output of the season.
“I give Buckland a lot credit on Cooks, he and Kenny guarded him the most,” Alexander said. “That’s where our defense starts, with those two guys and being a help-oriented team.”
The 52 points are the fewest points the Bisons have allowed against a Division I opponent since limiting Kennesaw State to 52 on December 3, 2011. In that same span – a total of 230 games – it’s the third-fewest they’ve allowed overall.
- Lipscomb improved to 6-2 all-time against NJIT, including a 4-0 mark in Newark.
- The Bisons have now won 12 consecutive games against conference opponents – the fourth longest streak in the country.
- Lipscomb outrebounded NJIT 35-31 and scored 12 second-chance points.
- The Bisons scored 30 points off the bench.
- Marberry has now scored double figures in 32-straight games. Wednesday marked his fifth game of the year with 20-plus points and the 19th of his career.
- Mathews finished with 11 points, three rebounds and three steals in a team-high 28 minutes.
- Cooper scored just two points, but he pulled down a career-high seven rebounds and dished a team-high six assists.
- Eli Pepper also pulled down seven rebounds to match Cooper for the team high.
- Asadullah added eight points on 4-of-6 shooting and snatched four rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.
- To go with his 17 points, Rose also recorded four rebounds.
- Alex Jones totaled five steals and three assists.
Lipscomb returns home for a pair of games next week. The Bisons will host Kennesaw State on Monday at 6:30 p.m. before welcoming reigning ASUN regular season champion Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s exciting to be back home with two games in front of our fans,” Alexander said. “Obviously we need to hold serve every time we are at home.
“We have a lot of great things that are possible for our team. We should love coming to play every day, that’s what our expectations should be.”