|November 05, 2019||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||RHODES||LIP|
|FG Percentage||.311 (23-74)||.547 (41-75)|
|3P FG Percentage||.263 (5-19)||.333 (6-18)|
|FT Percentage||.571 (4-7)||.696 (16-23)|
WILEY - 13
FLEMING - 4
STRATES - 4
WILEY - 1
NASHVILLE – The Lipscomb faithful will get their first look at the new brand of Bison Basketball on Tuesday night as Lennie Acuff’s squad takes Don Meyer Court for the first time hosting Rhodes College in the 2019-20 season opener.
The Bisons and the Lynx are set to battle for only the 2nd time in the history of the series that tips at 6:30 p.m. inside Allen Arena, despite being separated by only 200 miles.
ACUFF ERA BEGINS
Lipscomb introduced Acuff as the 19th head men’s basketball coach in program history in April. He touts more than 550 wins in his 29-year coaching career with stops at Alabama-Huntsville, Berry College and Belhaven College.
Acuff’s reputation proceeds him as he compiled a 437-214 record in 22 years at UAH, where he became the Gulf South Conference’s all-time winningest coach in 2017-18. The Chargers enjoyed 20 winning seasons with 18 trips to the GSC Tournament under Acuff’s tutelage.
He won eight GSC regular season crowns, captured three GSC Tournament titles and earned 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament, while being named the NABC District Coach of the Year four times and GSC Coach of the Year a conference-record eight times.
Highly respected by his peers in the collegiate coaching ranks, Acuff was one of just two Division II coaches to serve on the National Association of Basketball Coaches Board of Directors.
Acuff takes over a program that is coming off the most successful 3-year run in the NCAA era that featured a 72-31 overall record, a 35-9 mark in the ASUN Conference, two ASUN Finals appearances, an ASUN Tournament title, an ASUN regular season championship, a NCAA Tournament berth and a NIT runner-up finish.
Head coach Tyler Papadinis enters his second season at the helm of the program, where he is just the seventh coach at Rhodes since World War II.
The Lynx are coming off a season in which they went 5-21 overall and 2-12 in conference play. They averaged 67.6 points per game and shot 42.7 percent from the floor.
Senior Preston Giroux is the leading returning scorer for Rhodes from last season at 9.8 ppg, while Bryce Berry added 9.2.
Freshman Ross Johnson is the lone Nashville kid on the Lynx roster, as the 6-foot-5 forward prepped at Montgomery Bell Academy.
The Bisons and Lynx have only met one time previously on the hardwood, a 90-53 win for Lipscomb on Jan. 5, 2015. Josh Williams led the team with 16 points and was one of four players in double figures.
A WIN WOULD…
- Give the Bisons a 16-3 record in home openers in the NCAA Division I era.
- Give Acuff his eighth consecutive season-opening win as a head coach.
BISONS PICKED FOURTH, FIFTH; BUCKLAND, ASADULLAH ALL-ASUN
Lipscomb was voted to finish fourth in the league by the media with two first-place votes. The ASUN’s head coaches tabbed the purple and gold to finish fifth with 40 votes. Liberty was the overwhelming favorite to win the league with 79 points and seven first-place votes. North Florida was tabbed second with 74 and one.
Michael Buckland and Ahsan Asadullah will be heavily relied upon to lead the Bisons as the two key returners from a season ago. The duo was tabbed preseason All-ASUN selections by the league’s head coaches last month.
Buckland will be playing in his 100th career game as a Bison on Tuesday – 34 more than any of his teammates. He tallied 5.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest last season. As an All-Academic Team selection, the senior out of High Point, North Carolina was key in helping lead Lipscomb to an NIT Final appearance versus Texas and a share of the ASUN regular season crown in 2018-19.
Asadullah earned All-Freshman Team honors last season after pouring in 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. The sophomore center finished third in ASUN play with a 56.5 field goal percentage.
Lipscomb’s four sophomores will see an increased amount of playing time this season after having smaller roles as freshmen. Asadullah, Jake Wolfe, Greg Jones and Alex Jones project to be in the mix as starters or the first few players off the bench.
Wolfe and Alex Jones each played in 36 games last season averaging 11.8 and 7.7 minutes per game, respectively. Greg Jones will be looked to as a key contributor in a redemption campaign after having 2018-19 cut short after just nine games due to injury.
The Bisons gave Acuff a nonconference schedule that would compete among the toughest in the conference. Following Tuesday’s opener, Lipscomb will welcome Middle Tennessee for homecoming, before sandwiching trips to Duquesne and Navy around the Nov. 20 Battle of the Boulevard in Allen Arena. Highlighting the holiday portion of the slate is a post-Thanksgiving trip to Xavier (Nov. 30), a venture into the Northeast to take on America East power Vermont (Dec. 20) and a visit to the Plains to battle the reigning SEC champion and Final Four participant Auburn (Dec. 29) in the last nonconference game of the season.
- Lipscomb begins its 89th season of play on Tuesday.
- The purple and gold have won five consecutive season openers, while Acuff is coming off his seventh-straight season-opening win at UAH.
- The Bisons are 11-1 against nonconference opponents in Allen Arena over the last two years, and 15-3 since the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
- They outscored those nonconference teams by an average of 97.8 ppg to 68.3 ppg last season.
- Since 2010, Lipscomb is 16-6 in November home games. They are 10-2 in those games over the last five seasons.
- The Bisons are 24-0 at Allen Arena against non NCAA Division I foes.
- Lipscomb returns just 31 percent of its offensive production from a season ago, as seven returning players combined to score 25.4 points each time out.
- The Bisons lost over 7,700 career points, 3,000 career rebounds and 1,500 career assists off of last year’s team, leaving plenty of room for production in 2019-20.
- As many as nine newcomers could be making their Bison debuts (true freshmen KJ Johnson, Kaleb Coleman, Carson Cary, Tanner Shulman, Jacob Hobbs and Luke Howard, redshirt freshman Jaxon Strates, and transfers Parker Hazen and Miles Miller).
- Lipscomb and Rhodes is one of 148 games taking place on college basketball's opening day. November 5 is the earliest start date in Lipscomb’s NCAA history, topping last year's Nov. 6 opener.
- Last season, Lipscomb became the first ASUN team to advance to the NIT Final in conference history, defeating Davidson, UNC Greensboro, NC State and Wichita State before falling to Texas in the championship game.
- All home games in 2019-20 for the Bisons will be televised on ESPN+.
The Bisons will host Middle Tennessee for homecoming on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Active Career Leaders at Lipscomb
Games Started: Michael Buckland (63)
Points: Michael Buckland (583)
Rebounds: Michael Buckland (322)
Assists: Michael Buckland (232)
Steals: Michael Buckland (69)
Blocks: Michael Buckland (50)
2018-19 Top Returning Statistical Leaders
Games Started: Michael Buckland (35)
Scoring: Ahsan Asadullah (7.4)
Rebounds: Ahsan Asadullah (4.6)
Assists: Michael Buckland (2.3)
Steals: Michael Buckland (0.8)
Blocks: Ahsan Asadullah (0.6)
Lipscomb's Schedule Breakdown
Home Games: 13
Away Games: 16
Neutral Games: 0
First Home Game: Rhodes (Nov. 5)
First Road Game: at Tennessee State (Nov. 12)
Opening ASUN Contest: at Stetson (Jan. 2)
Head Coach: Lennie Acuff
Alma Mater: Shorter '88
Record at Lipscomb: 0-0 (1st Season)
Career Record: 554-325 (30th Season)