The 2019-2020 season is off to a hot start for the men’s basketball team, which defeated Rhodes College 104-55 Tuesday night.

It is a new era for this team, now being led by Lennie Acuff, the 19th coach in program history.

“I told the guys after the game that this is my 30th season as a head coach, but tonight was as nervous as I have ever been for an opening game,” Acuff said. “It’s a new place, and I wanted the team to play well.”

“I thought we played really hard in the first half, we just didn’t play very well. But in the second half, I felt we slowed the game down a little bit and got in our lane. I am proud of the way the guys played.”

Making his first career start, Andrew Fleming joined center Ahsan Asadullah in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. The guard — one of only two seniors on the squad — also reeled in seven boards and matched a team high with four assists.

“We put in a lot of work over the summer working every day,” Fleming said. “I love these teammates and am excited to play with them. They are all great guys, and you can see on the floor we have fun. I think our camaraderie translates to us playing well on the court together.”

Asadullah had the first double-double of his career with 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bisons.

All 13 players who saw playing time scored against the Lynx.

Freshman K. J. Johnson led the team with 14 points. Three of the starters — Jake Wolfe, Michael Buckland and Greg Jones — each scored eight points.

“We lost a lot of production from last year, and it’s going to take us some time to find our way,” Acuff said.“But we have some really good pieces and, most of all, really good kids.

“I am excited about where this team is going to go.”

The Bisons have added a new band, student section, and several other changes to enhance the game spirit. All of these additions brought high spirits and lots of hype to the opener of a new season.

Next up, the Bisons will host MTSU for homecoming on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Allen Arena.

Gallery shot by Mckenzi Harris.

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