If you like blowouts, tonight was your lucky night.

The Lipscomb Bisons (16-9, 6-4 ASUN) were able to capitalize on a stellar defensive performance that enabled runs of 15 and 19 unanswered points against the Jacksonville Dolphins (12-15, 6-4 ASUN) on Thursday night.

Junior guard Garrison Mathews’s team-high 23 points helped the Bisons in their quest to avoid going 0-2 against Jacksonville this year. The final score was 82-59 Lipscomb.

It seemed like an anomalous outcome following the Bisons’ 18-point loss against Jacksonville on Jan. 13.

“Well, they were missing their best player,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. Redshirt senior guard Devin Harris, who originally was projected to start, was absent for unspecified reasons.

Lipscomb put together an all-around shutdown of the Dolphins.

“Obviously it was our defensive effort,” Mathews said, adding that they “played terrible defensively earlier in the season” against Jacksonville.

But things didn’t start out as a blowout. The game was tied at 14 points with 13:59 to go in the first half, and it looked like fans would be witnessing a competitive game throughout the night.

And then suddenly the Bisons forced Jacksonville into multiple fouls and mistakes, and the Dolphins were staring at a 29-14 deficit until the 6:30 mark. The Dolphins retaliated with a 6-0 run and finished out the half with a more competitive edge. Lipscomb matched their efforts and both teams went into halftime with a 42-32 Lipscomb lead.

Lipscomb’s 19-point run in the second half made the score 63-34 with 13:21 to go. With approximately 7 minutes left to play, the Dolphins had only put up 8 second-half points.

Matthews put up 6 rebounds with his 23 points. Junior forward Eli Pepper was second-best in scoring for the Bisons, going 4-of-6 on field goals and 2-of-2 on free throws for 11 points. Sophomore guard Matt Rose had a team-high 3 of Lipscomb’s 12 assists. Lipscomb out-rebounded Jacksonville 44-25.

Freshman guard JD Notae converted 4-of-8 field goals and 3-of-4 free throws for a total of 13 points to lead the Dolphins. Sophomore guard Tanner Rubio added 12 points.

Lipscomb has a four-game slate to finish off the year (two home, two away). The Bisons are tied with Jacksonville for 2nd place with a 6-4 conference record. Florida Gulf Coast University has the regular season title all but wrapped up with a 10-0 record in the ASUN.

“Well, we’re at the time of the year where every game is critical as far as standings go,” Alexander said.

The Bisons are in Allen Arena this Saturday for a tilt versus North Florida (11-16, 5-5 ASUN*) at 4 p.m. The women’s basketball team plays immediately beforehand at 1:30 Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics

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