The Lipscomb men’s basketball team got back on track Saturday with a tense 85-82 home win over Stetson after three straight conference losses.
The Hatters hung around all game, but only led for less than a minute in the second half.
“We never played with any real confidence, and that’s my job to figure out how to push the right buttons to make that happen,” coach Casey Alexander said. “Good to get the win, way better than the alternative.”
The Bisons were flustered by Florida Gulf Coast’s zone defense on Thursday, which helped spark the erasure of Lipscomb’s 18-point lead that night. Stetson came out in an aggressive zone. Alexander said he didn’t make drastic changes to his team’s zone offense strategy, because “it’s usually gonna come down to whether you make shots or not.”
“If we did anything better tonight, we got the ball inside a lot more against them,” Alexander said.
Game of runs
Neither team led by more than five points in the first period. Hatters guard Divine Myles’s fast break layup at the halftime bell tied the game at 39.
The teams traded runs throughout the second half. Eli Pepper dove for a loose ball early in the half and flipped it to Rob Marberry, who jammed it to cap the Bisons’ 11-2 run. Stetson made a run of its own to take a 55-54 lead just before the under-12 media timeout. Then Mathews found Rose for three to regain the lead.
Myles’s three for the Hatters with 5:20 to go gave Stetson their next lead at 70-69 lead. Two possessions later, Myles rolled his ankle and Stetson was forced to foul Kenny Cooper on the break to prevent an easy basket.
After a lengthy review, the foul was ruled a Flagrant 1; Cooper split the free throws and scored on the next two possessions. Rose drilled a corner three to punctuate an 8-0 streak. Stetson coach Corey Williams called timeout with three minutes to play and the Hatters cut the lead back down to three with 2:33 left.
Rob Marberry and Mathews responded on back-to-back possessions, stretching the lead back to seven with 1:54 to go. B.J. Glasford’s second-chance triple and Angel Rivera’s layup pulled the Hatters back within one possession again.
After Marberry and Rivera traded free throws, Mathews committed an offensive foul, then fouled Myles on the drive, giving the Hatters a chance to tie the game with a pair of free throws with 14 seconds to go, but the senior Stetson guard only made one of two.
Cooper pushed the lead back to two at the line. Myles missed a jumper, and Rose ended up on the line for the Bisons with a chance to ice the game with two seconds to go. The first attempt dropped. The second shot rattled out and Glasford’s full-court prayer hit the top of the shot clock.
Rose finished five threes on seven attempts. He, Mathews and Marberry finished with 20 points apiece. Eli Pepper pulled down 14 rebounds, five on the offensive end. The Bisons out-rebounded Stetson 39-32, including 13 offensive boards.
Myles paced Stetson with 19 points. Four other Hatters put up double figures. Rivera dished out six assists. The team shot 45.8% from the three-point line.
Lipscomb plays conference foe USC Upstate (6-16, 1-4 ASUN) in Allen Arena Wednesday at 6:30 PM.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics