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Lipscomb (8-13, 3-7 A-Sun)
USC Upstate (13-10, 7-3 A-Sun)
1/31/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. (Hodge Center) | Attendance: 712
Thursday, January 31, 2013
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Lipscomb men’s basketball team got double-doubles from junior guard Khion Sankey and sophomore forward Malcolm Smith but it would not be enough as the Bisons fell 83-71 to USC Upstate in Atlantic Sun Conference action on Thursday night.
Along with 15 points and 10 rebounds from Malcolm Smith and 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds from Sankey, the Bisons (8-13, 3-7 A-Sun) got 13 points from senior guard Deonte Alexander and a career-high 11 points from freshman guard J.J. Butler, who made his first collegiate start.
“Our half-court defense was plenty good enough to win,” said Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson. “Our transition defense was not very good and hurt us but our half-court defense made huge strides.
“I thought we made strides. I thought we got better. Do I like the outcome? Absolutely not. If we’ll keep playing at a high level defensively, clean up the transition defense and start making some shots we’re going to be fine.”
Both teams got off to a sluggish start shooting below 30 percent in the opening period and the Spartans (13-10, 7-3 A-Sun) forced 10 Lipscomb turnovers to carry a 32-25 lead into the break.
USC Upstate would extend the lead to a 12-point lead early in the second half before the Bisons used a 12-4 run including five points from Butler to make it a four point game with 13:21 to play. USC Upstate’s Ty Greene quickly dashed any hopes of Lipscomb overtaking the lead however as the guard drained a pair of shots beyond the arch on back-to-back possessions and took the momentum away.
As was the case for most of the night, the Spartans would connect on their free throws down the stretch and thwart any comeback attempt by the Purple and Gold. On the night, USC Upstate hit 35-of-48 from the charity stripe for 72 percent.
The Bisons were even better at the line shooting 73 percent from the line including Malcolm Smith’s 11-of-12 effort but Lipscomb only had 26 attempts in comparison to Upstate’s 48.
The Spartans were led by Jodd Maxey had a career night with 26 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks, all career highs.
Lipscomb held the Spartan offense that averaged better than 45 percent heading into the game to only 32 percent shooting on the night. The buckets just would not fall on the other end of the court for the Bisons as Lipscomb also shot 32 percent and managed only 6-of-23 from deep.
“Upstate is an awful good basketball team,” said Sanderson. “We knew that coming in here. Hats off to how they played.”
The Bisons continue A-Sun road action on Saturday afternoon with a 3 p.m. contest at ETSU. The contest is set to air live on 102.5 The Game.