|January 02, 2020||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||Lips||Stet|
|FG Percentage||.426 (20-47)||.455 (25-55)|
|3P FG Percentage||.367 (11-30)||.313 (5-16)|
|FT Percentage||.682 (15-22)||.571 (8-14)|
Buckland - 1
Hobbs - 1
Asadullah - 1
Miller - 1
Panzo - 1
Kabimba - 1
DELAND, Fla. – Four players scored in double figures and the Lipscomb men’s basketball team held off a pesky Stetson squad 66-63 Thursday night in the ASUN Conference opener at the Edmunds Center in DeLand, Florida.
“I am so happy for our guys. This was a great team win,” head coach Lennie Acuff said. “We battled and battled through the nonconference schedule and lost a lot of close games, but to go on the road and beat a good Stetson team in our first ASUN game says a lot about the character of our team.
“I am really happy for them.”
In a game that featured new head coaches and saw 16 underclassmen earn playing time, the contest lived up to the billing with eight ties and 10 lead changes. Lipscomb held the largest advantage of the night at eight points with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
With preseason All-ASUN selection Ahsan Asadullah playing only 5:30 in the first half due to foul trouble, Acuff and his Bisons (6-8, 1-0 ASUN) had to have guys step up in bigger roles. Carson Cary was one of them.
The freshman guard came off the bench and scored a team-high 12 points in 17 minutes. He knocked down four of the team’s 11 three-pointers to go along with two rebounds and a pair of assists.
“I can’t say enough good things about Carson,” Acuff said. “He’s been ready every single time his number has been called, but hasn’t really played that much in the last month. For him to come in and go 4-for-6 from three, it says a lot about him as a young man and we know he’s a special kid.”
Asadullah exited the game at the 16:54 mark in the first half following back-to-back fouls only six seconds apart, leaving the Bisons undermanned in the paint. Stetson freshman Mahamadou Diawara took advantage as he dominated with 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first 20 minutes.
To combat the mismatch down low, Acuff and the Bisons stretched the floor and began firing away from the outside. Greg Jones got the first trey of the night to fall and soon thereafter Cary followed suit. The duo combined to drill four of the team’s five triples and were a big reason the game was tied at 30 going into halftime.
“I thought we won the game in the first half when we got to halftime tied because Ahsan is such a big part of what we do,” Acuff said. “To not have him for the majority of the first half, especially with how big and physical Stetson is on the inside, we could have been in trouble.
“But we had several guys come off the bench to step up and make big baskets for us. I felt really good in the locker room.”
The second half was much of the same as Lipscomb went 6-of-14 from beyond the arc. Over a three-minute span the two teams combined to make five-consecutive triples, including the third of the night for Greg Jones to put the Bisons up 41-38 with 13:39 to play.
“Greg is playing good basketball,” Acuff said. “He plays really hard and is playing with a high-level of confidence right now. I couldn’t be more proud of him staying the course.”
The Bisons defense tightened up in the second half, forcing Stetson into nine turnovers after the Hatters coughed it up just twice before halftime. They also held Diawara scoreless over the final 20 minutes on only one attempt from the floor.
The turning point in the game was when Cary drilled back-to-back treys to put the Bisons up 55-47 at the under-8 media timeout. The Hatters, however, would not go away as they trimmed the deficit to three points or fewer on nine different occasions.
In a one-possession game, freshman KJ Johnson went to the free throw line for two shots. After making his first seven foul shots on the night, he missed both. Stetson’s Jahlil Rawley pulled down the rebound on the miss, but was fouled by senior Michael Buckland with 1.7 seconds on the clock, denying any three-point heave the Hatters had in mind. Rawley missed the first free throw, and intentionally missed the second, as Asadullah reeled in the rebound to seal the win.
The purple and gold recorded 18 assists on 20 field goal makes. They shot 42.6 percent (20-47) from the floor, 36.7 percent (11-30) from deep, and 68.2 percent (15-22) from the line.
- Acuff is the first Lipscomb men’s basketball head coach to win his ASUN Conference opener in the program’s Division I era.
- The Bisons have now won four straight ASUN openers, three of which came by a margin of three points.
- Lipscomb extended its winning streak against Stetson to eight as the Bisons now hold a 23-15 all-time advantage in the series.
- Five Bisons scored at least nine points in the win as Johnson, Greg Jones and Andrew Fleming each recorded 10 behind Cary’s 12.
- The Hatters outrebounded Lipscomb 32-26 with 11 on the offensive end.
- Fleming added four rebounds and matched his career high with five assists.
- Stetson outscored Lipscomb, 32-18, in the paint but the Bisons made up for it by connecting on 11 three pointers compared to five by the Hatters. It marks the fifth time this season Lipscomb made 10+ threes.
- Buckland struggled from the floor, connecting on just 1-of-9 attempts for three points. He did chip in three rebounds and four assists in a team-high 36 minutes.
Lipscomb will stay in the Sunshine State for a Saturday battle with FGCU in Fort Myers. The game will tip at 6 p.m. on ESPN+. The Eagles lost to Liberty, 59-46, Thursday night in their home ASUN opener.
“We don’t want to settle just because we won our first ASUN game,” Acuff said. “We are hungry and our guys are really excited. It’s going to be a tough game, but we have a chance to go on the road to Florida Gulf Coast and get a sweep on opening weekend. They are so much better than what their record shows.