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Kennesaw State (4-15, 1-5 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (7-11, 2-5 A-Sun)
1/16/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. - Allen Arena | Attendance: 641
Thursday, January 16, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Many times a game comes down to just one or two plays. On Thursday night at Allen Arena, Lipscomb redshirt-freshman guard J.C. Hampton made two big ones at the end of each half that helped the Bisons secure an 88-83 Atlantic Sun Conference win over Kennesaw State.
With the clock ticking down in the first half and the Bisons (7-11, 2-5 A-Sun) trailing 45-42, Hampton launched an NBA-range three that found nothing but string music and sent the two teams to the locker rooms with a 45-45 tie. The Gainesville, Ga. native then helped seal the win in the final minute of the contest with an acrobatic layup that went high off the glass and through the net to give Lipscomb an 85-81 lead with 40 seconds to play. The top scoring freshman in the A-Sun finished the night with a game-high 22 points.
“It’s one thing to run the point and be the guy that facilitates things, handles the ball and makes decisions and J.C. does that well,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander. “But his scoring punch is really important to our team.
“He’s going to become a guy over the course of his four years is really going to become a weapon. He already is obviously, but he has such a scorer’s mentality and a lot of versatility to his game. He’s been really important for us.”
The Bisons also got a huge lift from junior forward Malcolm Smith, who added 21 points on the night including 17 in the first half.
“Malcolm played really hard and was totally aggressive offensively,” said Alexander. “You have to have guys step up when your leaders aren’t performing like you are used to seeing them do it and Malcolm was a huge key for us tonight.”
Lipscomb was able to overcome a hot shooting night by the Owls (4-15, 1-5 A-Sun) that saw Kennesaw State hit 54.9 percent by winning the battle of the boards. The Bisons grabbed 37 rebounds including 17 offensive boards to 30 total rebounds by the Owls. Sophomore forward Talbott Denny led all players with a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with his seven points for the Bisons.
“I give our guys a lot of credit,” said Alexander. “Rebounding was a real emphasis for us to try and even that battle out. We’ve been getting our hats handed to us on the boards game-after-game-after-game. So we challenged them and the effort was there all night.”
Lipscomb freshman guard Josh Williams, who was named the A-Sun Newcomer of the Week on Monday, finished the night with 19 points ahead of league leading scorer Martin Smith, who scored 12 points all in the second half.
Along with winning the rebounding battle, the Bisons also won the turnover war 20-13 leading to 22 points for the Purple and Gold. Lipscomb also got the job done at the free-throw line hitting 76 percent (29-of-38) on the night.
Delbert Love led the Owls with 17 points, all in the first half of action. He was joined in double figures by teammates Nate Rucker with 14, Yonel Brown with 13 and Myles Hamilton with 12.
The Bisons continue home league action on Saturday afternoon hosting league co-leader Mercer at 4 p.m. at Allen Arena. That contest is set to air on ESPN3 and 94.9 Game 2. To purchase tickets visit http://www.LipscombTickets.com or call 615-966-4373.