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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Moments after Lipscomb's Bisons knocked off Gardner-Webb last Thursday night, Coach Scott Sanderson wrote on the board in the locker room that there was only one team left in the Atlantic Sun to beat.
Mark that off of the to-do list for this season.
Heading into Tuesday night's "Battle of the Boulevard" arch-rival Belmont was the only team the Bisons had failed to beat in the first two years in the A-Sun Conference. There had been two overtime losses, but just being close was getting old.
The Bisons, working for one of the eight berths in the A-Sun Tournament, and playing in a league where it can truly be said that on any given night any team in the league has a chance to win, started out strong against Belmont Tuesday night at Allen Arena.
A brief second half fade gave Belmont control, but the Bisons would not put another loss on their record. They battled back and took a 59-58 win in front of 3, 357 fans.
"This was good team victory," Sanderson said. "The students were great. The fans were great."
Most of the students stormed the court and surrounded the players and coaches to offer congratulations for the emotional victory.
As has been the case in most games this season, the victory was a team effort. Guard/forward Eddie Ard gave the Bisons the boost they needed in the first half, scoring 14 of his game-high 16 points in the first half.
"Eddie is getting better and better," Sanderson said. "He was making the mid-range jump shot and was also getting points in the lane. He is getting so confident."
Sanderson and Ard had a heart-to-heart talk about his approach to the game a month ago. Ard apparently listened. He has led the team in scoring three times in the month of February.
"Eddie has changed his focus," Sanderson said. "He was focused on his scoring. I told him if he would focus on his defense and rebounding that the scoring would come. We have changed some of our out of bounds plays to make sure we get him the ball more. He defends and moves well in the open court. He is a very good passer with very good court vision."
When the inside game needed a boost in the second half Durant stepped up, scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds. With 7:23 left to play, and the Bisons down by eight at 51-43, Sanderson knew something different was needed.
"Durant got a couple of big baskets in the low post," said Sanderson. "Belmont was getting too many transition baskets. We played zone the last five-to-six minutes. Belmont was getting good looks. They just missed them."
Both Belmont and Lipscomb shot 20 times from 3-point range and both teams hit seven of those shots.
In the end though it was guard James Poindexter who came through for the Bisons. He scored all of his 11 points in the second half. With the Bisons trailing 58-54 with 40 seconds left Poindexter fired up a 3-pointer to pull within one point. With 11 seconds left he came back with a lay-up to put the Bisons ahead to stay at 59-58.
From the 5:20 mark to 2:23 the Bisons went on an 8-0 run to take a 54-53 lead. A 3-pointer by Dan Alexander at 1:57 gave Belmont the lead at 56-54, setting the stage for the Bisons comeback. With 21 seconds left Justin Hare missed a free throw. Adrian Jones missed a 3-pointer from the corner for Belmont as the buzzer went off to end the game.
Poindexter did not score a point in the first half. He rebounded with 11 second half points, including making three-of-four 3-point shots.
Belmont placed two players in double figures. Justin Hare scored 15 points. Dan Oliver added 14..
The Bisons are 15-11, 10-9. Belmont slipped to 12-15, 11-8,