LipscombSports.com
Bisons Lose Regular Season Finale; will play Mercer Thursday at 8:15 p.m. CT

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Feb. 24, 2007

Final Stats

The Bisons went on an 18-0 run early in the second half, but were unable to overcome an early deficit falling 74-67 to Jacksonville in the final regular season game of the 2006-07 campaign.

Trailing by 14 points at halftime, the Bisons rallied in the second half on an 18-0 run to take a two point lead, but then saw the game slip away in the final 10 minutes to lose their second consecutive game.

"We have to build on the second half," Head Coach Scott Sanderson said. "We have to build on the second half and the things we did defensively and offensively. We did some very, very good things. Unfortunately, you cannot play 12 minutes in an A-Sun game and expect to win."

Coming into Saturday's game with Jacksonville, the Bisons needed a win to secure the third seed in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament. By losing to Jacksonvill, the Bisons finish 11-7 in the conference but lose the tiebreaker to Jacksonvill due to their record against ETSU, the Atlantic Sun Regular season champions.

Early on in the game, it looked as if the Bisons would keep the game close as Jacksonville only held a two-point advantage, 21-19 at the 9:43 mark. However, Jacksonville used a 12-1 run to get the lead into double digits heading into halftime.

"We didn't get back in transition," Sanderson said. "They got second and third shots, and they made some tough shots, give them credit. They jumped up and made six-of-12 from (the three-point line). If they make six-of-12 from (the three-point line), then you are going to be down by a large margin, plus they got several lay-ups as well."

The Bisons only lead once in the first half at the beginning of the game 2-0, and trailed 43-29 at the intermission.

Out of the break, the Bisons looked like a different team.

After trading baskets for the first few minutes in the second half, the Bisons found themselves down by their largest margin of the game at 16 points, 49-33 with 17:05 to play.

For the next seven minutes, the Dolphins would not score, and the Bisons went on a 18-0 run to take their second lead of the game at 51-49 with 10:29 left in the game.

"We challenged our team at halftime to comeback, and they did that," Sanderson said. "We have to build on the second half."

"I felt on the defensive end of the floor, we were where we were supposed to be for 17 minutes and they score four field goals," Sanderson said. "That is where we were supposed to be defensively."

The lead would be short-lived, however, as the Dolphins followed the Bisons 18-0 run with an 8-0 run of their own. The Bisons, who looked like they used up so much energy to come back from 16 down, did not score over the next five minutes.

The Bisons cut the lead to three points, 59-56 with 3:37 to go, but the Dolphins continued to answer by hitting their free throws down the stretch. The Bisons did not ever get closer than three points.

For the game, the Bisons placed two players in double figures. Eddie Ard led all scorers in the game with 18 points, while Brian Fisk added 12 points.

The Bisons shot 24-for-57 from the field for 42.1 percent, 3-for-13 from behind the arc for 23.1 percent, and 16-for-25 from the free-throw line for 64 percent.

The Dolphins shot 24-for-52 from the field for 46.2 percent, 8-for-20 from the three-point line for 40 percent, and 18-for-23 from the free-throw line for 78.3 percent.

"Our goal for the year was to hold people to 40 percent from the floor," Sanderson said. "We did it four out of 16 games, and that is not good enough."

The Dolphins had four players in double figures. Ben Smith had 11 points. Corey Claitt had 16 points. Lehmon Colbert and Jesse Kimbrough led the Dolphins with 17 points apiece.

By losing, the Bisons are now the fourth seed heading into the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament in Johnson City next Thursday. The Bisons will play the number five seed Mercer Bears at 8:15 PM CT on Thursday March 1.

"They are going to be very challenging with a very explosive backcourt in (James) Florence and Shaddean Aaron, two terrific basketball players," Sanderson said. "They played a lot better these last couple of weeks, and every game will be a challenge."

"Now there is a new season approaching us here next week. Hopefully we can get zoned in for that. Everybody is 0-0. It does not matter what seed you are, everybody is 0-0. It does not really matter if you won the league, or did not win the league."

Thursday night's game will be televised on CSS Television, and will be broadcasted on the Lipscomb Sports Network on AM 900 and across the World Wide Web on lipscombsports.com.

"That tournament is going to be an absolute dogfight," Sanderson said. "People have their opinions about who is going to win, and that is what they are, opinions. We know what we have to do to be successful on Thursday night."

"Last year we had two goals. One was to win the league, and one was to go to the NCAA tournament. We achieved one. This year our goal was to win the league; we did not do that. Also our goal was to go to the NCAA tournament, and it is still sitting right there in front of it."

Lipscomb finished the regular season with a 17-12 overall record, and were 11-7 in the Atlantic Sun.