|March 01, 2019||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||UNA|
|FG Percentage||.558 (29-52)||.371 (23-62)|
|3P FG Percentage||.444 (12-27)||.261 (6-23)|
|FT Percentage||.708 (17-24)||.793 (23-29)|
COOPER - 5
STAFFORD - 3
PEPPER - 2
FLORENCE, Ala. – The Lipscomb men’s basketball team wrapped up the regular season with an ASUN Conference championship after defeating North Alabama 87-75 Friday night at Flowers Hall in Florence, Alabama.
It is the first ASUN regular season title for the Bisons since 2009-10 and their third in program history. The win also put Lipscomb as the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament.
“It feels great, this is what you work for,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “It’s the hardest thing to do in any sport is to be the best team in your league. It’s a measure of long time success, they have been the best team in the league for 16 games.
“I am proud of the conference championship.”
Senior Rob Marberry led the Bisons on the offensive end with 22 points in just 21 minutes after getting into foul trouble early in the second half. Marberry was nearly unstoppable when he touched the ball, finishing 10-of-12 from the floor.
“Rob gave us a big lift early because he scored so well,” Alexander said. “It’s a burden lifted off his shoulders to see him go out and do what we know he can do. A big part of that was him catching the ball low and near the rim where percentages go way up.”
Garrison Mathews added 17 points in the win despite going just 1-of-3 in the first half. The senior sharpshooter drained three triples in the final 20 minutes to help keep the Lions at bay.
The first half saw the Bisons jump out to an 11-5 lead six minutes in behind three buckets from Marberry. After UNA evened things up a couple minutes later, Lipscomb struck with a 10-0 run to push its lead to nine following a layup and a pair of free throws from Kenny Cooper with 9:25 remaining in the half.
UNA made a run of its own to pull back even before the Bisons went to the locker room up 36-28.
After shooting 3-of-13 from deep in the first half, it didn’t take long for Lipscomb to find its rhythm after the break. Matt Rose and Andrew Fleming began the run with long ball makes on three consecutive trips to push the lead to 15 and force UNA to call timeout with 15:29 to play.
A few minutes later after the Lions cut it to single digits, Eli Pepper connected from beyond the arc and then Mathews followed with back-to-back treys of his own. From there the Bisons stretched the lead and never let the Lions back in it.
Lipscomb’s second-half aerial assault saw them nail 9-of-14 three-point attempts and shoot 68 percent.
“I felt like it was better than it has been,” Alexander said. “Our energy was up the whole game. We still had too many empty possessions and too many breakdowns on defense, but when you look at the whole game, I felt it was closer to what we want it to be.”
The Bisons will share the ASUN regular season championship with newcomer Liberty as both teams finsihed 14-2 in league play. Lipscomb holds the tiebreaker over the Flames by sweeping North Florida this season.
- The Bisons outshot the Lions 56 percent (29-of-52) to 37 percent (23-of-62) for the game.
- Cooper and Rose each added 11 points in the win to give Lipscomb four players in double figures. Cooper chipped in five assists while Rose totaled two.
- Pepper nearly recorded a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. He moved into fourth all-time in the ASUN in rebounding, passing Centenary’s Albert Thomas (1986-89).
- Junior guard Michael Buckland matched his career high with nine rebounds to go along with six points and five assists.
- The Bisons forced 14 UNA turnovers and scored 22 points off the miscues.
Lipscomb begins its quest for back-to-back ASUN titles when No. 8 Kennesaw State comes to town on Monday for the conference quarterfinals. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Allen Arena. To purchase your tickets, visit HERE.
“Everyone knows it doesn’t matter who you are playing at this time of the year, you have to show up and be ready,” Alexander said. “I hope that Lipscomb fans will be there and support a team that has played really hard all year long, and earned the right to play at home.
“That creates people showing up and doing their part.”