MTSU survived a nail-biter to spoil Lipscomb’s homecoming 73-70 Saturday in Allen Arena.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the score was 66-66. However, sparked by C.J. Jones’ hit from downtown, and the Blue Raiders eked out the victory.
Throughout the game, Lipscomb and MTSU went toe-to-toe, keeping the crowd of students, alums and family members on the edges of their seats.
Lipscomb’s Ahsan Asadullah had a big night, scoring 18 points and grabbing a career-high 13 rebounds for his second straight double-double. He added three blocks and two steals.
Another standout was senior guard Andrew Fleming, who added seven rebounds and four assists for the second straight game. Asadullah and Fleming were joined in double-figure scoring by senior guard Michael Buckland and sophomore guard Jake Wolfe.
Although the Bisons had four players in double-digit scoring, offense was a major problem for both teams throughout the game. Scoring runs were short lived, and droughts were the storyline for much of the game. On one such run, after Lipscomb took a 7-2 lead, the Bisons ended up missing their next nine shots. MTSU experienced similar difficulty, only making three of their first 14 attempts.
While both teams started slowly, it was the Blue Raiders who put together a stronger performance in the first half and led 37-31 going into the break. After halftime, Asadullah pulled Lipscomb to 49-49 game by scoring six of his eight second-half points all within the first five minutes. But Lipscomb fell behind once again, and just a few minutes later, Middle Tennessee had its second largest lead of the game 60-51.
Yet, as the second-half came to a close, Lipscomb took the lead 63-60 with long balls from Buckland and Wolfe. Despite this resurgence, the Bisons could never get any separation from the Blue Raiders, and the scoreline would remain a one-possession game for the rest of the contest. This loss breaks Lipscomb’s two-year streak of beginning a season 2-0, as they fell to 1-1.
This was MTSU’s first trip to the Lipscomb University campus since 1961; however, these two teams met just last year, when the Bisons traveled down I-24 to Murfreesboro and won 84-74.
Game photo gallery by Mckenzi Harris.
The MTSU match was just one event in the flurry of campus activities associated with the homecoming weekend.
Friday afternoon, the campus hosted a homecoming parade featuring floats from various campus organizations and clubs. The parade route began on the north end of campus and ended in front of Allen Arena, where students and faculty were waiting. Also outside of Allen Arena was a chili contest and a beignet food truck. To make sure that students could attend these events, afternoon classes were canceled.
Festivities continued into Saturday morning, when the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame Luncheon honored and inducted new members into the Hall of Fame. These inductees, as well as the 2019 ASUN softball champions, the Lady Bisons, were honored during media breaks of the basketball game.
But this weekend was not only for the students, as alumni returned to campus to reminisce and reconnect. Parents’ weekend was also a part of the homecoming, bringing even more guests to campus.
This weekend wrapped up with the ASUN women’s soccer championship hosted at Lipscomb’s own soccer complex Saturday night, where the Lady Bisons repeated as ASUN champions and clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament next week.
The Lipscomb men’s basketball team will look to bounce back when they head on a trip across the city for the first road game of the season at Tennessee State Tuesday night at 7.p.m. Continue to check Lumination Network for all your coverage of Lipscomb Athletics.
Homecoming festivities gallery by Riley Hoag.