|January 21, 2019||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||KSU||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.364 (20-55)||.475 (29-61)|
|3P FG Percentage||.167 (2-12)||.364 (8-22)|
|FT Percentage||.682 (15-22)||.741 (20-27)|
LOCKLEY - 2
MBUYAMBA - 2
MARBERRY - 4
NASHVILLE – Behind a 25-point effort from senior Garrison Mathews, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team picked up an 86-57 win over Kennesaw State in ASUN Conference action at Allen Arena on Monday night in the Music City.
The win improved Lipscomb to 14-4 overall and 5-0 in league play, giving the Bisons their best start in the ASUN in program history. The loss dropped KSU to 3-17, 0-5. It was the fifth-straight victory for the Bisons over the Owls and their 15th in the last 17 meetings.
In a first half that didn’t see the Bisons play their best game, Mathews erupted for 17 points after draining 8-of-10 from the free throw line to help Lipscomb to a 41-33 lead at the half.
“It never really felt like we had great rhythm tonight, and that’s a tribute to them (KSU) and how they play, but I have to give our guys credit as we still scored 86 in a low-possession game and win by 29. It’s hard to be disappointed,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said.
Following a steal and a jumper from KSU’s Bryson Lockley to open the action, the Bisons used a 7-0 run to pull ahead for the remainder of the game.
Lipscomb’s defense limited the visiting Owls to 37 percent shooting and helped the Bisons build a 13-point lead on three occasions in the opening 20 minutes, but Kennesaw State confidently hit 12 of 15 at the line to keep things within reach.
Bobby Parker opened the second half with a made free throw and a 3-pointer to pull KSU to within five in the first minute. From that point on, however, it was all Bisons. Mathews, Kenny Cooper and Rob Marberry spearheaded a 10-2 run for the purple and gold that stretched the lead back to double-digits at 52-39 with 16 minutes to play.
Then, after starting the game just 3-of-15 from long range, the Bisons began to lock in from behind the arc. Eli Pepper and Nate Moran dialed up a pair of threes to spark a 10-1 run, before three minutes later Moran and Matt Rose connected on three-straight treys as part of an 11-1 run to give Lipscomb a 74-45 lead with under seven minutes remaining.
“I’ve been working hard to try and find my shot back, because I felt like I lost it,” Moran said. “I’ve been getting in the gym more and working on it. Alex (Jones) knew I had just hit two in a row and he found me. It was going down no matter what.”
Lipscomb outscored Kennesaw State 45-24 in the final 20 minutes after shooting 55 percent from the floor and 46 percent from deep.
“I thought our defense was a lot better in the second half,” Alexander said. “We hold them to 24 and they don’t get to the free throw a lot. It was very uncharacteristic of us to put a team on the line 24 times in one half. That really helped them stay in it and keep the margin where it was. We were better overall in the second half.”
The victory gave the Bisons their longest winning streak of the season at five games. And not only did it improve their home record to 8-1 on the season, but it was the team's 13th win in 14 games in Allen.
“This is a great group of guys who love each other and want to play for one another,” Moran said. “It’s something that could be very special if we keep playing the way we are.”
AROUND THE HORN
- The Bisons are off to their best start to a season since opening 14-1 in 1999-00.
- Lipscomb dominated the boards 42-31, including eight on the offensive end. The Bisons also controlled the paint 38-28.
- Behind Mathew’s 10 of 13 effort at the line, Lipscomb knocked down 20 of 27 (74 percent), while KSU his 15 of 22 (68 percent). It is the seventh game of the season with at least 20 makes from the stripe for the Bisons.
- Marberry reached double figures for the 33rd-straight game after scoring 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He and Cooper tied for the team high with four assists.
- The Bisons totaled 18 assists – their most in conference play this season. They also only coughed the ball up 12 times – their lowest total in league action.
- All 41 of the first half points for the Bisons were scored from their starters.
- Pepper nearly missed his fourth double-double of the season with nine points and a game-high 11 boards.
- Moran was one of five Bisons to score at least nine points after going a perfect 3-for-3 from deep in the second half. Cooper added nine points and Michael Buckland chipped in eight.
- The Bisons finished 8-of-22 from 3-point land to record their 13th game of the season with at least eight 3-pointers made.
The Bisons close out the homestand on Thursday when reigning ASUN regular season champs Florida Gulf Coast visits Music City. The Bisons and Eagles will tip things up at 6:30 p.m. in Allen Arena on ESPN+.
“I think they are starting to figure out who they are after being hamstrung a little bit,” Alexander said. “Even now, they played without two of their top guys today and still found a way to win. We know they are a really talented and capable team and that we will have to play well to win the game. We just have to do everything we can between now and then to try and do something.”