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Northern Kentucky (8-20, 4-12 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (13-14, 8-8 A-Sun)
2/21/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. - Allen Arena | Attendance: 1893
Friday, February 21, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Overcoming a 2-for-17 start to the night beyond the arc is a difficult feat to accomplish but the Lipscomb men’s basketball team pulled it off on Friday night hanging on for a 70-66 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe Northern Kentucky at Allen Arena.
“If you don’t perform really well, especially offensively, it’s hard to get it to go in the basket,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander. “Your only way to win is to really maximize your effort which translates to a good defensive game. I thought we got that for the most part tonight.”
Despite the shooting woes from deep the Bisons (13-14, 8-8 A-Sun) got the one that was needed most as junior forward Martin Smith hit nothing but twine to give Lipscomb a four-point advantage with 34.4 seconds remaining. The play proved to be a pivotal point in the win over the Norse (8-20, 4-12 A-Sun).
“That was a huge three for us by Martin when he hasn’t been shooting the ball that well,” said Alexander. “I have to give all of those guys a lot of credit. It’s one thing to see the play but it’s another to put the pass on the money, to be ready to catch and shoot it and to knock it down. All of that has to go right.”
Junior forward Malcolm Smith led all scorers with a 21-point night hitting 7-of-11 from the field and adding seven free throws in 11 attempts at the charity stripe.
“Malcolm wanted the ball tonight and the shots weren’t falling for us like they normally do,” said Alexander. “We had to shake it up a little bit. We had to try to get some interior baskets, get some fouls and get to the free-throw line. Malcolm was ready and he answered the bell. It was huge for our team.”
He was joined in double figures by twin brother Martin, who scored 18, and redshirt-freshman guard J.C. Hampton, who added a dozen.
Lipscomb overcame a 17 percent shooting night from 3-point land by hitting 72 percent from the charity stripe making 19-of-28. Taking care of the ball was also key as Lipscomb turned the ball over only seven times while forcing 15 miscues by Northern Kentucky.
The Bisons were outrebounded 36-31 but managed to haul in 13 offensive rebounds that led to 14 second-chance points.
Senior guard Khion Sankey led all players with 10 rebounds just missing a double-double with seven points.
“It’s exciting to know that we have two more home games,” said Alexander. “Florida Gulf Coast had a huge win tonight and are playing as good as anybody in the league. Now they’re playing for first place and home-court advantage. We know what a challenge that will be but there’s nothing more exciting than being able to play a home game on your home floor.”
The Bisons continue home Atlantic Sun Conference action on Thursday night at 6 p.m. hosting league co-leader Florida Gulf Coast. The contest will air on ESPN3 and 94.9 Game 2.