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Lipscomb (8-9, 3-2 A-Sun)
BELMONT (11-6, 4-1 A-Sun)
1/6/2012 | Curb Event Center (Nashville, Tenn.) | Attendance: 5227
Friday, January 06, 2012
When everything is going against you and it feels like you can’t take another step is a time when you have to get mad dog mean in order to win.
That was the situation the Lipscomb Bison found themselves in on more than one occasion in the final 20 minutes of Friday night’s “Battle of the Boulevard” against the Belmont Bruins.
Down 66-54 to Belmont with 9:18 left to play the Bison gradually rallied to turn the tide taking a 70-68 lead with 3:53 remaining on a 3-point bank shot by guard Deonte Alexander. The Bison never lost the lead, holding Belmont back for an 85-74 win in front of a sellout crowd at the Curb Event Center.
The Bison looked for teammates and fans to hug, but they also were in need of a place to rest.
“I’m dead,” center Justin Glenn said. “We are all dead.
“But that is when you have to draw from within. This is what all of the training is for during all of the running you do in the summer. We had to suck it up and push through. It is more of mental thing.”
Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson used only eight players down the stretch, opting to let his team rest during timeouts. It was the third game for the Bison in five days.
“I was concerned,” Sanderson said. “I didn’t know what would happen. The last five minutes of the game I didn’t substitute at all. We talk a lot about playing through being tired.
“We had some big stops. Belmont missed a lot of shots late in the game. We jumped up and made some shots. Our 2-2-1 slowed them down a little bit. This was a big win for us against a very good Belmont basketball team. I was very proud of our team’s effort.”
The Bison improved to 8-9, 3-2 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Belmont, 11-6 overall, suffered its first conference loss, slipping to 4-1.
Glenn finished with a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. It was his fourth double-double of the season and also the fourth of his career. He also had five blocked shots, a team high for the season.
“Shot blocking is just being in the right spot at the right time,” Glenn said. “I was fortunate.”
In the final 8:23 of the game the Bison outscored Belmont 28-6 sparked by three free throws by guard Jordan Burgason who broke the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Guard Jacob Arnett led the Bison with 17 points. Burgason added 16. Malcolm Smith was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field for 12 points. Forward Damarius Smith and Alexander each chipped in with 11.
“Jacob is a very good shooter,” Sanderson said. “He shot the ball really well after going several games where he didn’t shoot the ball well. The ball just had not been going in for him.
“When Jacob, Jordan and Deonte are making shots and Zavion Williams and Damarius are penetrating it opens up the floor a little bit. I thought Justin made some big 10-foot bank shots. And all of them made their free shows down the stretch.”
Belmont was led by guard Ian Clark with 28 points. Guard Kerron Johnson added 11. J.J Mann tossed in 10.
The Bison trailed 39-36. Even though only three Bison had played against Belmont the young players were not affected by the atmosphere surrounding the game.
“We have been consistently inconsistent,” Sanderson said. “You can say `wow’ about us and it can mean different things. At Jacksonville you could have said `wow’ and that would be a good thing. Against North Florida you could have said `wow’ and it would not have been a good thing. We also have a tendency to do that during a game.”
Sanderson stresses that his players need to consider the Belmont game as just another one on the schedule, but neither side views it that way.
“Everyone always says you have to treat this as another game,” Glenn said. “You wait the whole year for these games. They are only a mile-and-half down the road. To come out of this one victorious is a blessing for us.
“We have a lot of young guys. We didn’t know how they were going to come out and play. But they played hard for us. If we had not kept our poise when Belmont made its runs we would have lost by 30 or 40.”
The Bison are off until Jan. 14 when Florida Gulf Coast visits Allen Arena.