The Lipscomb Bisons upset the Liberty Flames 77-71 Saturday afternoon in Allen Arena — in a day that honored the team’s seniors. The win locks the Bisons into the third seed in the ASUN Championship Tournament, earning a home game.
“We’ve really had an unselfish bunch all year,” Lipscomb coach Lennie Acuff said. “Now we’re finally seeing some fruit.”
Lipscomb, despite starting the season 3-6, finishes the season at 14-15 (9-7 ASUN).
“We were really dead in the water about three weeks ago,” Acuff said. “Our guys really stepped up and kept going and doing the right thing. They’re high character kids.”
Against Liberty, it was all Lipscomb. The Bisons jumped out to a 21-3 lead with just seven and a half minutes played in the first half. Two minutes later, the lead was up to 29-6.
Three-pointers were especially important to the Bisons in the first half. Lipscomb made 10 of the 11 free throws attempted in the first 20 minutes.
“Our guys really played well,” Acuff said. “You’re just not going to hit 10 of 11 very often, but I was proud of our guys.”
The Flames were able to drop the Bisons lead down to five points on several occasions in the second half, including one final attempt to steal the game that dropped the lead to 76-71 with just over a minute to play in regulation. Each time, Lipscomb was able to put a run of scoring together to keep the game out of Liberty’s reach.
The Bisons had four players in double figures, including senior Andrew Fleming (20 points) and center Ahsan Asadullah (18).
“I’m happy,” Fleming said. “I’m thankful Coach Acuff gave me the opportunity to play. I’ve worked really hard and to see the ball go in a few times just makes it all worth it.”
The loss was not enough to keep Liberty from finishing the year in the top spot in the conference. The Flames (27-4, 13-3 ASUN) will host NJIT in the first round of the ASUN Championship.
Lipscomb will play FGCU on Tuesday at 7 P.M. in Allen Arena in its first game of the tournament. This season, Lipscomb split the series with the Eagles, losing the first game and winning the second.
“We have to make sure everyone is playing with ultra-confidence,” Fleming said. “You have to make sure you’re shooting the ball with a lot of confidence – no nerves. Just try to enjoy it and play hard and play smart.”
Gallery courtesy of Mckenzi Harris.