|March 10, 2019||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||LU||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.483 (28-58)||.482 (27-56)|
|3P FG Percentage||.333 (7-21)||.333 (6-18)|
|FT Percentage||.917 (11-12)||.727 (8-11)|
Lovell Cabbil - 1
Darius McGhee - 1
BUCKLAND - 1
ASADULLAH - 1
NASHVILLE - The Lipscomb men’s basketball team came agonizingly close to winning back-to-back ASUN Tournaments on Sunday afternoon, but the Bisons fell just short, losing to Liberty 74-68 in Nashville.
Lipscomb (25-7) and Liberty (28-7) went back and forth, changing the lead 23 times in front of an electric, record-breaking crowd of 5,687 fans.
"It certainly stings," head coach Casey Alexander said. "On the other hand, it was a real privilege to be a part of a game like that. It was an unbelievable day.
"I am proud of our team for being in a situation to host this game, and I love the Lipscomb community that showed up and supported us. Just disappointed we didn't win the game. I can't imagine anyone who watched that game didn't thoroughly enjoy it. We just happened to be a couple of possessions short."
The Flames secured the ASUN’s NCAA Tournament bid down the stretch with a pair of free throws and a corner trey from the league's leading 3-point shooter Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz with 14.8 seconds remaining.
"Neither team could get any separation in the second half,” Alexander said. “We couldn’t get those critical stops when we needed them, and they couldn’t either. Time ran out. Who knows what would have happened if there was another minute to go in the game.”
Seniors Rob Marberry and Garrison Mathews came up big in what could be their final games on the Don Meyer Court.
Mathews had 21 points on 5-12 shooting, including a 4-8 mark from three, and a 7-8 clip from the free throw line.
Seventeen of the the ASUN Player of the Year’s points came in the second half as the Bisons attempted to mount a comeback. He also had four rebounds and three assists.
Marberry dominated the paint on offense for much of the game, pouring in 18 points on 9-14 shooting.
The Bisons started out slow, but pulled back ahead thanks to an 8-0 run all from junior Kenny Cooper midway through the first half.
Cooper finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and a team-high four assists.
The Flames responded with a 9-0 run of their own, capped by a buzzer-beating basket from junior Lovell Cabbil to send Liberty into the break up 29-28.
The second-half featured a faster pace, with Liberty scoring 45 to Lipscomb’s 40, but the Flames had an answer for every Bisons basket.
Lipscomb and Liberty played nearly an identical game. Both sides shot 48 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from deep, and grabbed 31 total rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.
“Every time they handed me a stat sheet, the stats were identical,” Alexander said. “Twos were the same, threes were the same, free throws were the same, rebounds were the same, assists were the same. But here we are.”
Freshmen Ahsan Asadullah was an energizer off the bench for Lipscomb, collecting eight points, nine rebounds, two steals, one block, and several key defensive stops.
Scottie James, the ASUN Tournament MVP, paced Liberty with 17 points and eight rebounds.
- Cabbil and Caleb Homesley joined James on the All-Tournament Team for Liberty, while Cooper and Mathews were voted on the squad for Lipscomb.
- North Florida’s Garrett Sams and NJIT’s Diandre Wilson were also named to the team.
- Georgie Pacheco-Orti (16), Cabbil (14), and Homesley (11) also scored in double-figures for the Flames.
- Lipscomb dished out 14 assists, while Liberty handed out 16.
- Lipscomb had 39 points in the paint to Liberty’s 34. The two teams only scored eight points each off of the bench.
- The Bisons fall to 1-2 in ASUN Title games after last season’s win at FGCU and a 2006 loss to Belmont.
- Lipscomb falls to 14-3 in Allen Arena on the season. They set a program record for home wins.
The Bisons must wait until next weekend to find out their postseason destination. While an at-large NCAA Tournament bid is slim, Lipscomb has at least secured an automatic berth into the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The selection shows for both tournaments will be March 17.
“One thing this team has done really well is live in the moment and stay on task with what is right in front of them, that’s why we are here,” Alexander said. “We’ve had the best year that Lipscomb University has ever had, just hope we can do it again for another five games.”