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Florida Gulf Coast (19-9, 11-4 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (10-15, 5-9 A-Sun)
2/16/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. (Allen Arena) | Attendance: 1754
Saturday, February 16, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With 12 seconds remaining on the clock Lipscomb sophomore forward Martin Smith toed the line and sank his tenth and 11th free throws of the night giving him a career-high 30 points. Those pair of makes proved to be the cherry on top for the Bisons as Lipscomb downed Atlantic Sun Conference leader Florida Gulf Coast 84-74 on Saturday night at Allen Arena in Nashville.
With twin brother and leading scorer Malcolm out for the game with a knee injury, Martin lifted the Bisons (10-15, 5-9 A-Sun) to the upset with his first career double-double after snagging 10 rebounds and adding 30 points behind 9-of-13 shooting from the floor and an 11-of-14 night at the charity stripe.
“Everyone knows that Martin hasn’t had the kind of year we thought he was going to have,” said Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson. “He came to me yesterday after practice and apologized to me for how he’s played. I told him ‘to focus on rebounding and defending and not worry about shot making. I want you to make shots but if you’ll take your focus off that offensive end of the floor it will just come naturally for you.’ He stepped up tonight and had a big night for us.”
Early on in the contest, the Eagles (19-9, 11-4 A-Sun) looked like they were out for blood in revenge of the Bisons overtime defeat at Alico Arena, FGCU’s only home loss of the season and the last blemish on their record coming into the game. A pair of dunks along with some sharpshooting saw FGCU score the first 12 points of the game and things looked bleak for the Purple and Gold.
Despite the early hole, the Bisons composure remained intact and Lipscomb chipped away at the lead behind solid defense and drew even at 16-16 on a free throw by freshman forward Talbott Denny with 10:07 to go in the opening half.
“We needed this win for the conference race,” said Sanderson. “I’m proud of our guys and the way that they battled and hung in there. We played well the last 35 minutes of the game.”
Lipscomb broke open the barn burner in the final three minutes of action when senior guard Deonte Alexander launched a fade-away 3-pointer that rainbowed its way into the net with 2:12 sending Allen Arena into a frenzy and gaving LU a 73-67 advantage.
Redshirt freshman center Stephen Hurt then put the Bisons up eight with his 20th point of the night after he hauled in an offensive rebound and powered a layup home, giving him his eighth double-double of the season. FGCU missed an errant 3-point attempt and then Alexander raced coast-to-coast for a layup to give Lipscomb a 10-point advantage for the first time in the battle.
Alexander finished with 14 points on the night giving the Bisons three scorers in double figures. Bernard Thompson led FGCU with 23 points, while Sherwood Brown, the reigning A-Sun Player of the Week, added 17.
“Our guys have been dialed in in practice but we haven’t always gotten the reward in games,” said Sanderson. “Hopefully this can lead us into the road games at Mercer and Kennesaw State next week.”
The Bisons hit the road on Thursday night for an A-Sun tilt at Mercer that tipsoff at 6 p.m. from Macon, Ga.