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Mercer (15-5, 6-1 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (7-12, 2-6 A-Sun)
1/18/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. - Allen Arena | Attendance: 1235
Saturday, January 18, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With two starters on the bench after both went down with injury during Friday’s practice, the outmanned Lipscomb men’s basketball team dropped an 87-66 Atlantic Sun Conference contest to league co-leader Mercer on Saturday afternoon at Allen Arena in Nashville.
The Bisons (7-12, 2-6 A-Sun) were without the services of junior forward Martin Smith, the A-Sun’s top scorer averaging 16.7 points per game, as well as sophomore forward Talbott Denny, who has started all 18 games coming into the game and averaged 29.2 minutes per contest.
“We didn’t know if either one of them were going to be able to go or not and but neither one of them could as it turned out,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander. “What that did was limit our potential. We know we’re not as good without those guys but it doesn’t meant tonight we couldn’t have been as good as Mercer for 40 minutes.”
Mercer (15-5, 6-1 A-Sun) made it clear from the start that they were not going to look past Lipscomb after scoring the first 12 points of the game. The Bisons would answer back with a 5-0 run capped off by a pair of free throws from junior forward Malcolm Smith but that is as close as the Purple and Gold would get. The Bears would stretch the lead to 46-27 at the half after shooting 58 percent from the floor to the Bisons 25.9 percent.
Despite the deficit after the first 20 minutes of action, Lipscomb played hard until the final whistle including the play of senior guard Khion Sankey, who scored 17 second-half points including back-to-back treys that brought the Bisons within 14 at 69-55. Sankey would finish a career-best 19 points to lead Lipscomb.
“It was great to see Khion play with a lot of life and be ready to shoot the ball when his time came,” said Alexander. “He knocked them down when he got the chance.”
The leading freshman scorer in the A-Sun, J.C. Hampton added 16 for the Bisons to finish with double figures in his 12th-straight game for the Bisons after hitting five 3-pointers.
“To have a point guard that has a scorer’s mentality and better than that, a scorer’s ability is a nice luxury to have,” said Alexander. “He’s played enough games now that we know we can count on him to give us some production. 16 points in 37 minutes and only has one turnover, so this was a really good game from him.”
Redshirt junior Carter Sanderson and Malcolm Smith each finished with 10 to give Lipscomb four players in double figures.
Mercer was led by 31 points from Bud Thomas, who drained nine 3-pointers in the game including seven in the final 20 minutes of action. He was joined in double figures by Anthony White Jr. with 19 points and Daniel Coursey, who notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bisons lost the shooting battle 56 percent to 35 percent as the Bears went 31-for-55 from the field including 13-of-25 from beyond the arc. Mercer also controlled the boards holding a 42-26 edge in rebounding.
Lipscomb held an 18-10 advantage in turnovers that led to 22 points for the Bisons.
Road action is up next for the Bisons as Lipscomb travels to A-Sun foe Northern Kentucky on Friday night for a contest that is set to air on CSS.