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USC Upstate (13-11, 6-5 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (11-12, 6-6 A-Sun)
2/6/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. - Allen Arena | Attendance: 1457
Thursday, February 06, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The crowd erupted at Allen Arena on Thursday night as the arcing 3-pointer from Lipscomb freshman guard Josh Williams found nothing but twine on its way through the hoop with 2.2 seconds remaining as the Bisons downed Atlantic Sun foe USC Upstate 77-75.
The Spartans (13-11, 6-5 A-Sun) looked to be in firm control in the final minute with possession and a two-point lead but a missed bucket gave the Bisons (11-12, 6-6 A-Sun) a chance to get the win. USC Upstate opted to double team the reigning Atlantic Sun Newcomer of the Week J.C. Hampton, who nailed a game-winning shot in the final minute at North Florida last Saturday.
That set the table for junior forward Martin Smith, who drove the lane only to find the Spartan defense collapsing on top of him. The veteran had the presence and poise however, to kick the ball out to Williams on the wing with the clock winding down and the Jackson, Miss., native drained the basket to secure the win.
“The play was for Martin all the way,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander. “We executed well and they did a nice job recovering after he slipped the screen. Martin drove it in there and he had a shot. The tendency there is to force something but he hit a wide-open teammate and Josh knocked it down.”
With neither team able to snatch a double-digit lead at any point throughout the night, the contest was a back-and-forth affair that saw the lead change hands 14 times and the game tied at another dozen points.
Williams’ game winner gave the newcomer 21 points on the night as he drained four threes on the night. He was joined by Hampton who also had 21 marks on the scoresheet along with seven assists. The duo was joined in double figures by Martin Smith, who had 14 points and junior forward Malcolm Smith, who added 11.
“J.C. and Martin were a lot more productive in the second half,” said Alexander. “They gave us some offense when we didn’t have Khion (Sankey), Malcolm or Talbott (Denny). So we had to have perimeter scoring, which is not really new for us but we got it.
“I have to give all our guys a lot of credit to get a tough, gutty win against a really good team and coming from behind to do it under some pretty adverse circumstances. I’m really proud.”
Lipscomb also got a pair of huge threes in the second half from Chad Johnson as the junior guard matched his career high.
“Chad gave us a big lift which he has been doing,” said Alexander. “He played 19 minutes and knocked down both of his threes which was huge.”
Upstate was led by Torrey Craig with 18 points along with 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds from Ricardo Glenn.
Making eight 3-pointers, and only turning the ball over twice in the second half, proved to be the difference for the Bisons. After shooting 37.5 percent in the opening stanza, Lipscomb responded by hitting 60.9 percent of the shots in the final 20 minutes for a 48.9 percent mark on the night.
The Bisons were also solid at the charity stripe outshooting the Spartans 79 percent to 68 percent. Those numbers combined to help Lipscomb overcome a 35-24 deficit in rebounding.
The win gives Lipscomb four-straight A-Sun wins for the first time since the close of the 2009-10 season and snaps a six-game skid to USC Upstate.
Lipscomb continues home action on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. hosting the 3rd Annual Adoption Rally as well as Star Wars Night. To purchase tickets visit http://www.LipscombTickets.com or call 615-966-HERD (4373). The game will also be televised on ESPN3 and broadcast locally on 94.9 Game 2.