|January 18, 2020||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||Lib|
|FG Percentage||.435 (20-46)||.434 (23-53)|
|3P FG Percentage||.385 (10-26)||.318 (7-22)|
|FT Percentage||.714 (10-14)||.636 (14-22)|
- 14||Georgie Pacheco-Orti
- 9||Scottie James
- 4||Caleb Homesley
JONES - 1
HAZEN - 1
Georgie Pacheco-Orti - 2
LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Lipscomb men's basketball team nearly pulled off what would have been its biggest win of the season, but the Bisons came up just short in the end as Liberty held on for a 67-60 victory Saturday night in the Vines Center.
The Bisons dropped to 7-12 overall and 2-4 in the ASUN Conference, while the Flames improved to 19-1 and 5-0.
“I was proud of our team’s fight tonight, we showed a lot more than we did at NJIT,” head coach Lennie Acuff said. “Liberty is a fantastic team that is extremely well-coached. This is a tough place to play, but I was proud of our guys for fighting and hanging in there and not backing down.”
Lennie Acuff’s squad shot the ball well all night against the nation’s 2nd-best scoring defense, hitting at a 44 percent clip overall with 10 made threes.
Seniors Andrew Fleming and Michael Buckland led the Bisons offensively as the duo combined for 25 points and six triples. Fleming paced the way with 14 points, while Buckland added 11. Plagued with foul trouble throughout, big man Ahsan Asadullah also recorded 11 points in 26 minutes.
Forshadowing a big night from beyond the arc, Fleming and Buckland drained back-to-back triples to open the game for Lipscomb, giving the visitors an early 6-3 lead two minutes into the action.
After Liberty built a 7-point lead a few minutes later, another three from Buckland ignited a 7-0 run for Lipscomb over a span of 1:06 before Fleming deposited a turnaround jumper from the paint to give the Bisons their first lead at 17-15. At that moment in time the Bisons were shooting 63 percent from the field.
Things stayed a one-possession game until the Flames closed the first half on a 5-1 run to take a 31-25 lead into the locker room.
Despite collecting three first-half fouls, Asadullah came out of the break attacking on the offensive end. The sophomore center scored the first five points for Lipscomb in the second half before Greg Jones buried a three to even the score once again at 33-33.
With 17:04 on the clock Asadullah went to the bench with his fourth foul, leaving the Bisons without their leading scorer and opening an opportunity for others. Greg Jones and KJ Johnson gladly stepped up, combining for 17 points in the second half.
“We didn’t get to play Ahsan a lot tonight because of foul trouble, and then Buck got into trouble as well,” Acuff said. “But we had some other guys step up and make plays. I was proud of our fight all night long and I thought we had some substance to us.”
After Liberty stretched its lead back out to six, Miles Miller knocked down his first three of the night and Johnson followed with a pair of makes from the charity stripe to cut the deficit to 41-40. But each time the Bisons would get close, the experienced Flames found a way to push their lead back out.
Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz led the charge for the home team, scoring 14 of his game-high 21 points after halftime. The junior point guard seemingly responded to each Bison run and hit buckets to extend Liberty’s lead down the stretch.
The Bisons would not go away, however, as Johnson and Fleming helped trim the score to four points on a pair of occasions. It would be as close as the team would get in the final six minutes as Liberty sealed the game at the line.
Pacheco-Ortiz paced three Flames in double-digits. Big man Scottie James recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Caleb Homesley added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Lipscomb shot 20-of-46 from the field for a 44% clip, while Liberty knocked down 23-of-53 for a 43% mark. It was Liberty's first win of the season where the opponent outshot the Flames from the field.
“You want to learn from your failure, and we didn’t get it done tonight,” Acuff said. “In no way are we satisfied. The only way we are going to get to where we want to go is to keep practicing well on a daily basis and embrace the process.”
- Lipscomb’s 60 points were the most allowed by Liberty in ASUN play, and the fourth most the Flames have allowed this season.
- The Bisons hit 10-of-26 from three-point range, marking the seventh outing this season with double-digit triples. It was the second most three Liberty’s vaunted defense has allowed on the year (13 vs. Towson).
- The Purple and Gold matched Liberty on the boards, 33-33, and were led by Buckland’s nine – which tied his career high (9 vs. Emory, November 10, 2017).
- Johnson was the fourth Bison in double figures with 10 points, to go along with four rebounds and a team-high four assists.
- The Bisons recorded 12 assists as a team, while the Flames had 10.
- The biggest discrepancy in the game came in the turnover battle as the Bisons coughed it up 16 times, compared to just seven for Liberty. The Flames dominated points off turnovers 24-4.
- Greg Jones scored all nine of his points from three-point range.
- Parker Hazen returned to action after missing Thursday’s game. In 19 minutes he scored two points and pulled down seven rebounds.
The Bisons return to Nashville for their longest homestand of conference play. They will host Jacksonville on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. before welcoming North Florida on Saturday, followed by Stetson on February 1.
“We are a work-in-progress, but we will build on tonight and get back at it on Monday,” Acuff said.