The first meeting of the season between Belmont and Lipscomb was everything fans could expect and more between the closest rivalry in NCAA Division I basketball.
The energy was electric in Allen Arena during the hard-fought battle, but Lipscomb came up just short losing 73-67 to the Bruins.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we sure played hard,” says head coach Lennie Acuff.
“We got down pretty good in the second half and was short-handed the last 10 minutes, but our guys kept fighting, clawing and scraping their way to stay in it,”.
This was the first time Casey Alexander returned to Allen Arena for a game after taking the head coach position at Belmont. Alexander was the head coach at Lipscomb for six seasons leading the team to an NCAA Tournament appearance and an NIT Finals appearance just last year.
“Belmont is a good team and they’ve been playing fantastic, but we had a chance tonight and that’s all we wanted at the end. I was really, really proud of our guy,” says Acuff.
Lipscomb entered halftime up by one, 33-32, after going on a 10-0 and a 12-5 run at the end of the first half.
The Bruins came out of halftime looking for revenge. The bruins had a 12-0 run at the beginning of the second half. Once Belmont took the lead, they never looked back.
“We have the ball twice down four in the last minute and we didn’t get very good shots,” says Acuff.
“I have to do a better job of getting us organized down the stretch. We just got a little ahead of ourselves, but our guys were fighting like crazy and showing a lot of heart right now,”.
KJ Johnson tied his season-best of 16 points and despite having a tough night Ahsan Asadullah almost posted a double-double. Asadullah had nine points, a career-high 15 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Jake Wolfe and Michael Buckland did not finish the game due to minor injuries.
The Bisons are now 1-4 for the season.
“I was very, very thankful for the crowd we had tonight,” says Acuff.
“I thought the student section was incredible and it was a great atmosphere. I’ve watched a lot of these games on television but this was my first time being a part of it.”
Next up, the Bisons will head to Maryland to take on Navy.
“We are in the middle of a murder’s row right now,” says Acuff. “We have to go and get on the plane tomorrow morning and head to Navy.”
The Bisons will play Navy on Friday, November 22 at 6 pm.
Gallery by Mckenzi Harris.