|March 23, 2019||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||UNCG|
|FG Percentage||.525 (32-61)||.391 (25-64)|
|3P FG Percentage||.364 (8-22)||.179 (5-28)|
|FT Percentage||.778 (14-18)||.700 (14-20)|
- 24||Francis Alonso
- 11||Angelo Allegri
James Dickey - 5
- 6||Demetrius Troy
- 2||Demetrius Troy
PEPPER - 1
MATHEWS - 1
Kyrin Galloway - 1
Eric Hamilton - 1
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Lipscomb men’s basketball team needed a second-half comeback to keep its season alive Tuesday at Davidson. The script on Saturday in Greensboro, North Carolina was much different.
The Bisons turned a one-point deficit late in the first half into a convincing 86-69 beat down of top-seeded UNCG in second-round action of the NIT at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“I thought it was a high-level game,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “And I felt like the first half really showed that. Two good teams, kind of blow-for-blow and a lot of excitement and a lot of good plays. But when we got the margin, it changed a little bit.”
With the win Lipscomb advances to the quarterfinals of the NIT and will face the winner of No. 2 NC State and No. 6 Harvard next week for the right to take a trip to New York City.
It is the farthest any ASUN Conference team has advanced in the NIT since 1987 and the 17-point victory is the largest in the history of the tournament for the ASUN.
Lipscomb outshot the Spartans .525 to .391 from the field overall, and knocked down .364 percent of its shots from 3-point range. The Bisons went 8-of-22 from deep and held UNCG to just a 5-of-28 (.179) effort on the afternoon. It marked the 25th time this season they tallied at least eight triples in a game.
Seniors Rob Marberry and Garrison Mathews were a 2-man wrecking crew as the duo combined for 45 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
After missing his first shot of the game less than two minutes in, Marberry dominated the rest of the game. He did not miss a shot the rest of the way as he finished 12-of-13 for a team-high 24 points, most of which came against the SoCon’s 2018 Defensive Player of the Year James Dickey.
The first 17 minutes saw the teams go blow for blow with neither side leading by more than two possessions as UNCG held a 30-29 lead. From that moment forward it was all purple and gold.
Marberry deposited back-to-back buckets, slammed a two-handed jam and assisted on the last make of the half off a long rebound that saw him feed fellow senior Nate Moran streaking down court behind the Spartans defense for the easy lay-in. A 10-2 run to end the half sent the Bisons into the locker room up 43-35.
The second half saw Lipscomb and Marberry pick up right where they left off in the first. Marberry scored on three straight trips down the floor in the first two minutes to grow the lead to 14 and force UNCG to call a timeout.
In front of a hostile crowd of 4,248 the Spartans tried to cut into the deficit, but they would never get any closer than 12 the rest of the way as they were simply outmatched.
Mathews came up clutch with his second double-double of the season and the ninth of his career with 21 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. He drained three treys and finished a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.
With 7:41 remaining in the contest, Marberry found a cutting Andrew Fleming in the lane for a wide-open layup to give Lipscomb a 29-point lead, its largest of the day, at 84-55.
The Bisons controlled the boards 41-27 and recorded their 11th game of the season with 20 assists. They shot .500 from the floor in the second half and cruised to their 13th road victory of the year.
“Any time that we can get a bunch of assists like that and get the ball moving, it really helps our offense, gets the defense on their heels a lot of the time,” Mathews said. “We’ve played against a few really good defensive teams, and the way we beat them is passing the ball really quickly and crisply.
The deciding stretch of the game covered a nearly 21-minute period that went from the last 8:30 of the first half through the first 12:20 of the second half, where Lipscomb shot 81 percent from the floor converting on 25-of-31 field goal attempts.
After being the first team left out of the 68-team NCAA Tournament field, UNCG earned the top overall seed in the NIT. The Spartans finished the year 29-7, their winningest season in program history.
The defeat was just their second at home this season in 17 tries. The only other loss came on January 10 at the hands of the SoCon champion Wofford Terriers, who earned a No. 7 seed in March Madness.
Senior Francis Alonso led all players with 27 points on 7-of-16 shooting. He hit three triples and went 10-of-12 from the charity stripe.
2019 SoCon Defensive Player of the Year Isaiah Miller added 21 points and four rebounds.
“Obviously we did not expect it to go that way,” Alexander said. “We expected to win, but we have great respect for their team and what they’ve done and how good they are. We know that if we tipped it up again, we’d be starting all over with a fifty-fifty chance to win or lose.
“Because of that, I think it is appropriate for me to give credit to our players for what I thought was a really good 40 minutes.”
- Lipscomb’s 27 wins overall and 13 wins on the road are the most in the program’s D-I era.
- The Bisons hit their last six shots in the first half and their first four of the second, resulting in a 15-point swing.
- The win was the eighth road win in the last nine trips. It was also the eighth time the Bisons have scored 80+ points on the road this season.
- Lipscomb has now reeled in at least 40 rebounds in 11 games this season and is 9-2 in those contests.
- Junior Kenny Cooper added 11 points and six assists for the Bisons. He has recorded at least five assists in 15 games on the year, and has now hit a 3-pointer in 14-consecutive outings after going 1-of-2.
- Senior Matt Rose chipped in nine points after nailing a trio of treys.
- Freshman Ahsan Asadullah fell short of a double-double with seven points and eight boards. He and Mathews each reeled in a team-high three offensive rebounds.
- The Bisons controlled the paint 40-26 and outscored UNCG’s bench, 25-14.
Lipscomb advances to the quarterfinals where it will take on the winner of Sunday’s NC State and Harvard matchup. The game will be played on Wednesday, March 27 at a time and location yet to be determined.
If NC State wins, the Bisons will make a third trip to North Carolina. If Harvard pulls the upset, the Bisons will host in Allen Arena.