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Bisons set to open regular season against Tusculum

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nov. 10, 2006

With two dress rehearsals under their belt the Lipscomb Bisons are ready to open the regular season.

Saturday afternoon at 2 at Allen Arena the Bisons will face Tusculum College, a former NAIA foe now playing on the NCAA Division II level. The Bisons are coming off an 81-63 exhibition victory over Harding University, also a Division II program. The Bisons also defeated Freed-Hardeman, an NAIA school, 89-72, in the first exhibition of the season.

The Lady Bisons will play Alabama-Huntsville in an exhibition game at 4:15.

This is the third and final exhibition game of the season for Tusculum. They will not count this game on their regular season record. The last time the two teams met was Nov. 10, 1988.

Tusculum has been beaten by Xavier, 82-58, and Tennessee, 100-57. Both teams went to the NCAA Tournament last season. The Bisons participated in the National Invitation Tournament.

Tusculum is led by senior guard Chris Poore, who is averaging 16 points in the two exhibition games.

The Bisons are still in a learning mode as the regular season arrives.

The center position remains a work in progress for the Bisons with three players _ Jason Hopkins, Thomas Pfaff and Ryan Daniels vying for playing time.

"It is going to be musical chairs there until someone steps out front," Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. "We will continue to shuffle those guys around until someone defends people, rebounds, takes care of the ball and finishes plays around the basket we will continue to shuffle those guys around.

"I want make the decision of who will play. They will make that decision for me."

The Bisons, as expected, are deep at the guard positions with Trey Williams, Brian Fisk and Michael Lusk leading the way.

"Trey has really improved his shooting," Sanderson said. "He is looking for his shot. He will probably average 10 points a game. That's a drastic change from last year when everybody guarded Brian Fisk and Eddie Ard with Trey's guy. But you can't do that this year. Trey is shooting with a lot of confidence."

Sanderson stressed that Lusk is the type of player the typical fan might take for granted.

"Sometimes fans can take Mike Lusk for granted," Sanderson said. "He is a lock down defender, He rebounds the basketball. He makes his open shots. He doesn't turn it over.

"His role is hard. He is the guy who can do so many things. We challenge him because he such a good defender."

Ard's latest accolade is to be named one of nine players to watch on the mid-major level by Kyle Whelliston, writing for ESPN.com. He is a force at forward with a ton of preseason honors.

"Eddie still has so much to learn, Lipscomb assistant coach Hubie Smith said. "He is not happy just being a good player. He wants to be great. That helps to keep him grounded."

Freshman Brandon Moore is expected to provide back-up for Ard when needed.

"Two weeks ago Brandon was completely on the outside looking in," Sanderson said. "He wasn't going to play very much. But he has started to come on unbelievable in the last week. He is understanding things better. He can be two feet out of position and still make a play. He can rebound and defend. He is a talent."

Another freshman, Michael Teller, could also fill that reserve role behind Ard.

"Teams have to guard Michael," Sanderson said. "Every time he shoots the ball we all think it is going in. He can also rebound the ball."

Sanderson is expecting the Bisons to present a balanced scoring attack with three to five players have the potential of reaching double figures each game.

"We will probably shoot a few more threes this year," Sanderson said. "I would rather have several players scoring in double figures than one guy hitting a bunch."

Sanderson has been thrilled with the crowds at the first two games.

"We need to build momentum early," Sanderson said. "It means a lot to all of us to have the students and fans show up for our games. It has been a great atmosphere."

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