The Lipscomb men’s basketball team lost to the Stetson Hatters 77-71 Thursday night in an aggressive, defense-heavy battle at Allen Arena, the home of the Bisons. 

A key player for the Bisons was freshman guard Will Pruitt who hails from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. He scored his career-high with 22 points, knocking in multiple clutch shots for Lipscomb while also taking down 6 rebounds. Pruitt spent 33 minutes on the court, making 7-12 of his shots. 

“I didn’t think it was gonna be a career night,” Will Pruitt said in a post-game interview, regarding his career-high that took place in the game against the Hatters. 

Ahsan Asadullah, an Atlanta-born junior center, made a total of 13 points for the team in the 33 minutes he played. Right behind him in scoring at 12 points was freshman shooting guard Trae Benham.

There was a great atmosphere from the students who attended to represent their social clubs. To start the game, Stetson won the tipoff and got the first two points within 15 seconds.

The Bisons and Hatters both excelled on the defensive end, getting up in each other’s space. Asadullah pulled through on multiple occasions with slick and creative ways to get around players and pull down rebounds. The offense started off well for the Bisons, leading 16-15 with 12:15 on the clock. 

After that, it went downhill for the home team. The Hatters went on an 11-point streak, putting them ten points ahead of the Bisons at 26-16. Four of those points were made by Stetson’s Aubin Gateretse, a freshman center from Charleroi, Belgium. With only playing on the court for ten minutes, Gateretse scored six points for the Hatters which helped get them ahead of the Bisons. 

The Bisons doubled down on their ability to rebound and drive into the paint to make those clutch shots they needed. Their aggressive bounce-back gave way to a 12-point streak leading Stetson to the lead at 28-26. 

It was a tough game since the Bisons seemed to be surrounded by a forest of green jerseys as the Stetsons seemed to tower over them. They are going all-in in the first part of the half but seemed to have lost their momentum when they switched the team members to a whole new set of players.

That might have made it hard due to fresh players for the Bisons had not yet adjusted to the playing style of the Hatters. The Bisons seemed to have been in all the right places but were not making the shots they needed to keep up.

The Bisons finally got a handle on their defense and were all up in the Hatters business—and it was reciprocal. The Bisons finally were catching more rebounds and making the clutch shots they needed, though it was hard to steal the ball since the Hatters were good at passing in tight situations. 

There was a moment of slacking defense on the Bisons’ part, but they pulled together pretty quickly after realizing a weak spot.

An epic moment of the last few minutes was when Pruitt stole the ball from the Hatters and gave Trae Benham the ball. Benham drove it across the court like he owned it and went in for a layup, making the shot with 34 seconds left as he fell. That left the score for the first quarter at 31-30, the Bisons one point behind. 

The second half started off with plenty of back and forth, and the Bisons started off well with catching the ball. Asadullah, a creative genius on the court, came through the dense crowd of Hatters keeping him out of the paint with clutch moves.

Both teams were equal in their defense, though the Hatters had their offensive shooting down more than the Bisons did.

Also, the Hatters spread out their points to their players compared to the home team. Almost everyone who played had at least three points, though it was spread out evenly throughout the game.

On the other hand, the Bisons had a dense amount of points on key players such as Pruitt, Asadullah, and Benham, and multiple players who made no points while on the court. 

The already aggressive game got even more aggressive after a timeout, and the lack of fouls from Lipscomb shifted as they also changed their tactics in defense. Though they were good at it before, now they were doubling down on getting into the Hatter’s space after slacking a bit.

Full-court pressure was applied from the Bisons and they were able to put the Hatters where they wanted them so that Greg Jones, the Bisons’ junior guard, could knock down a clutch three-pointer.

The Bisons struggled to catch up when they were at one point 16 points behind the Hatters, but they were able to pull themselves up to a 6-point deficit at the final strike of the counter, ending the game with a score of 77-71, the Hatters coming away with the victory. 

The loss leaves the Bisons at 10-14 on the season and at 3-6 in the ASUN Conference. Altogether the Bisons played well when they applied themselves, but it was tough for them to keep their plays consistent throughout both halves. 

The Bisons return to Allen Arena for the ASUN Conference opener against the Florida Gulf Coast at 4 pm on Saturday. That match will be broadcast live on The Bison, Lipscomb’s on-campus radio station.

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