CLEMSON, S.C. – 2018 was a special year for the Lipscomb men’s basketball team.
The Bisons won the ASUN tournament title, made their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance and continued their mid-major relevance by starting this season 9-3.
But their last performance of the year was one to forget.
Lipscomb shot the ball poorly in the first half and committed a season-high 22 turnovers in an 84-67 loss to Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum Sunday.
“Turnovers affected us in a big way, and I give [Clemson] credit for that,” Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander told LipscombSports.com. “Anyone who watches our team play knows [that] was uncharacteristic of us.”
Senior guard Garrison Mathews led the Bisons with 19 points. He injured his left leg in the second half but returned seven minutes later and finished out the game with a noticeable limp.
Clemson (10-3) used its size and speed to give Lipscomb fits throughout the game. The Tigers had 15 steals and six blocks on the defensive end, while guard Marcquise Reed (26 points) and forward David Skara (17 points) made their presence felt on offense in front of 7,879 fans.
Lipscomb (9-4) outscored Clemson 40-38 in the second half, but the Bisons’ 19-point halftime deficit (46-27) was too much to overcome. Lipscomb shot just 38 percent (8-of-21) in the first 20 minutes.
“We just needed to play better in the second half because we thought we could still win the game,” Alexander said.
“We cut the margin significantly at the first media timeout just by being more solid and not making mistakes, but over the course of 40 minutes, Clemson was a lot better than we were.”
Rob Marberry finished with 13 points and was the only other Lipscomb player in double figures. Elijah Thomas (12), Clyde Trapp (11) and Shelton Mitchell (10) all had double-digit afternoons for Clemson.
Lipscomb guard Greg Jones missed his fourth game of the season while continuing to nurse a minor knee injury. The sophomore played for 14 minutes against Louisville on Dec. 12 but missed the Covenant and Vermont games last week.
The Bisons begin ASUN play on Saturday at Jacksonville (7-8). Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. CT at Swisher Gym.
“We have 16 conference games and Jacksonville is the first one for us,” Alexander said. “Everyone in the country flips the page and starts over.”
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics