|November 30, 2019||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||Lips||XU|
|FG Percentage||.397 (25-63)||.486 (36-74)|
|3P FG Percentage||.267 (4-15)||.333 (8-24)|
|FT Percentage||.727 (8-11)||.538 (7-13)|
Freemantle - 15
CINCINNATI, Ohio – After playing a solid first 10 minutes of the first half things got away from the under-manned Lipscomb men’s basketball team in an 87-62 loss to No. 23 Xavier at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
When KJ Johnson laid up a shot with 12:14 remaining in the first half, things looked good for the Bisons (3-5) as they took a 16-14 advantage, but that would be the last time Lipscomb led. Xavier (7-1) closed out the frame with a 26-10 run to take a 40-26 lead at the half.
“We are down several guys on the bench, but overall I thought we played really hard,” Lipscomb head coach Lennie Acuff said. “The first 10 or 12 minutes of each half the game was even, but I thought we got tired with guys playing big minutes.
“Xavier is really good and their staff does a great job. We will be better from today, that’s for sure.”
The Bisons came out firing early in the second half to keep pace with the Musketeers following back-to-back triples from Johnson and Andrew Fleming, but XU strung together a 9-0 run to push the lead to 21 and put the game away. The purple and gold would not get any closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
“There is no value you can put on that for us,” Acuff said. “We could have quit two or three times, but we just kept battling.”
Johnson led all scorers with 25 points, setting another career high for the lefty. Nineteen of his points came in the second half.
Johnson has been on a tear the last two weeks, either tying or setting a career high in points in four-consecutive games.
“KJ has a chance to be a special player here,” Acuff said. “He is so competitive and never backs down. But most importantly, he is a great teammate and that’s what we like most.”
Ahsan Asadullah just missed a double-double once again with 18 points and nine rebounds.
The difference in the game was on the boards. The bigger Musketeers outrebounded the Bisons 43-36, but nearly half of their boards came on the offensive end. They pulled down 21 offensive rebounds and scored 24 second-chance points, compared to 14 offensive boards for the Bisons and nine second-chance points.
“I thought our first-shot defense was good,” Acuff said. “Where we had problems was the second and third shots. Xavier is too talented for that and they have a ton of physicality. They are a legitimate top-25 team.”
- Five Bisons got in the scoring column, led by Johnson and Asadullah.
- Andrew Fleming scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds, while Parker Hazen contributed eight points and eight boards.
- Asadullah was Lispcomb’s leading assist man with four.
- Johnson has now produced back-to-back 20-point games and pushed his scoring average up to 15.4 per game. He also pulled down five rebounds in the loss.
- The Bisons shot 40 percent (25-of-63) from the floor and converted only four triples (4-15). Xavier hit 49 percent (36-of-74) and eight threes (8-24).
- Lipscomb turned the ball over 18 times and was credited with 12 assists, while Xavier coughed it up 14 times with 21 assists.
- Xavier had four players in double figures, led by 15 from Paul Scruggs and Zach Freemantle.
Lipscomb will wrap up its four-game road trip on Tuesday with the short trip up Belmont Boulevard to take on the Bruins in the second edition of the Battle of the Boulevard this season. The Bisons and Bruins will tip it up at 6:30 p.m. in the Curb Event Center on ESPN+.
“We need to get some rest after having some guys play heavy minutes today,” Acuff said. “We just have to make sure we get rest and be ready to go for a real challenge on Tuesday at Belmont.”