The Lipscomb Bisons opened there 2020 home slate on Thursday night hosting ASUN opponent, Kennesaw State in their third conference game of the year.
Despite a late comeback attempt by the Owls, the Bisons were able to pull away with a 73-85 victory behind senior guard Michael Buckland’s career-high 25 points and redshirt sophomore center Ahsan Asadullah’s career-high 28 points.
“For about 34 minutes, I thought we played really, really well – some of our best play offensively. We went 13-26 from the 3-point line; the reason we did that is that we moved the ball,” said Lipscomb head coach Lennie Acuff.
The two teams played competitively for much of the first half with both sides going on scoring runs, however, it was the Bisons who went into halftime with the lead 31-39, due to several key defensive stops.
“I can come in as a senior and demand that defensive mentality from the younger guys. Because that’s where we are going to get conference wins,” Buckland said. “We are going to get scouted, offense is going to be stagnant at times, and so when it does get stagnant you have to be able to make stops on the defensive end.”
Coming out of the half, Lipscomb got off to a hot start and began to take control of the game, leading by 20 points with 10 minutes remaining in the game. But, Kennesaw State refused to go home quietly.
“Our problem this year has been that we will have little lulls, and we have to learn to eliminate those lulls,” Buckland said.
This lull cost the Bisons’ their large lead as the Owls went on a 17-1 run, led by senior guard Tyler Hooker, who returned tonight from injury, and freshman guard Jaime Lewis, who became eligible for the first time tonight, both with 24 points.
“We have two or three minutes of pocket every game,” Acuff said.
In addition, Kennesaw’s comeback attempt was helped by their ability to keep Lipscomb’s freshman star KJ Johnson silent with only two points on the night.
But ultimately the offensive chemistry from the Bisons’ veteran leaders was too much for Kennesaw to overcome.
“We’re two [Asadullah and Buckland] of the few people who have been here for more than one year together, so a lot of times you can see the chemistry that we have built,” said Buckland.
The Bisons continue conference play on Saturday at home when they host North Alabama in a doubleheader between the men’s and women’s teams.
Photo by Riley Hoag.