Two installments of the Battle of the Boulevard brought two heartbreaking finishes for the Lipscomb men’s basketball team.

That’s the story after the Belmont Bruins (7-1) bested the Lipscomb Bisons (6-2) by a score of 76-74 in a crowded Curb Event Center Tuesday night.

Down by two, Lipscomb had 0.8 seconds to score a game-tying or a game-winning shot off a throw-in from the goal side, but redshirt senior guard Nate Moran missed a three-point attempt that bounced around the rim and fell to the floor with no time left.

“It was a good shot by a good shooter, and it didn’t go in,” Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander said. “And so we lost.”

Lipscomb’s starting five brought a mixed bag to the court. Senior forward Rob Marberry was the only player who scored more than 10 points for the Bisons, bringing in 26 points and four assists. He also tied for the team lead with eight rebounds.

On the flip side, senior guard Garrison Mathews scored just five points, and senior forward Eli Pepper committed five fouls and exited the contest with 9:57 remaining.

“I’ll give Belmont a lot of credit for doing a great job guarding [Mathews],” Alexander said. “And [I’ll] give Garrison a lot of credit for just staying within the game and taking what came to him instead of trying to do too much.”

Alexander also said that Pepper “gives us so much versatility defensively, that we were scrambling a little bit.”

Meanwhile, Belmont freshman center Nick Muszynski dropped a team-leading 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

The first half was incredibly competitive. With 9:43 left, senior guard-forward Dylan Windler gave Belmont an 18-16 lead on a breakaway dunk.

But the Bisons responded with a run of 15-2 to take a 31-20 lead, and they in turn watched Belmont take a 13-4 run into the half. Lipscomb led 35-33 at the break. 

The second half started out much like the first, but Belmont stayed a step or two ahead most of the time. The Bisons only led three times the entire second half.

Down 74-70, Lipscomb finally got its chance when Marberry scored two layups to tie the game at the 32-second mark.

Both teams traded possessions after that, and then freshman forward Caleb Hollander sunk a jumper with 4.7 seconds left to give the Bruins a 76-74 lead.

And then the Bisons, with just a few precious seconds left, watched as junior guard Kenny Cooper had the ball knocked away as he was driving into the lane. That left 0.8 seconds on the clock. 

After a couple of Lipscomb timeouts, Moran took the throw-in and attempted his ill-fated three-pointer. 

“As a guy that’s been in a lot of these [situations], I just chalk it up as one more good [game],” Alexander said. “And I’m really disappointed for our kids that we’re on the [losing] end.”

The Bisons will get some time off to study for final exams this week. Navy will pay a visit to Allen Arena on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m.

Photos by McKenzi Harris

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