Head Coach Casey Alexander’s biggest concern for his team on Thursday night was how they would respond after a heartbreaking loss two days ago. His concerns were put at ease. The Lipscomb men’s basketball team got off to a torrid start on its way to a 24-point halftime lead and cruised to a 104-85 win over Tennessee Tech in Allen Arena.
The Bisons (3-6) lost a thriller to rival Belmont (64-62) on Tuesday after leading for most of the contest.
“We came out ready to play, which was the big question coming off the Belmont game,” coach Alexander said. “We showed a lot of maturity by playing hard and establishing a lead, and the margin that we created was huge.”
Lipscomb shot the lights out in the first half, going 61.5% from the field and 9-for-12 from three-point land as it built a 54-30 lead going into the break. Josh Williams led the way for the Bisons, scoring 18 points in the first half and connecting on four of his six three-pointers. The team’s offensive outburst was a stark contrast to the Belmont game, where Lipscomb shot an anemic 1-for-16 from downtown.
“We’re gonna make our share of shots if we get good looks,” Alexander said. “I just felt like we executed really well, and that’s all I can ask for.”
Williams, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, finished with a season-high 20 points in the game.
“He’s been such a great player here, and we need him to be a real force for us,” Alexander said. “He’s still trying to figure out what he can and can’t do on his knee, so it was great for him to get some confidence back and make such a contribution.”
Lipscomb was outscored 55-50 in the second half and committed 15 turnovers against the relentless full-court press of Tennessee Tech. Alexander attributed part of the team’s sloppiness to the amount of fouls that were called, an unfortunate sub-plot that developed as the night went on. The Golden Eagles committed 38 fouls and had four players foul out of the game, while Lipscomb had 29 fouls. The teams combined for 84 free-throw attempts, making it impossible for any rhythm to develop in the contest. Alexander said he can’t remember ever seeing so many fouls called in a game.
“The circumstances in the second half are tough when the other team is throwing caution to the wind, and it’s easy to fall into that,” Alexander said. “What [the fouls] do is make you scared to defend, and once the refs call some early they can’t back off of it; it was just one of those games.”
The Bisons finished the game with a 38-31 edge in rebounding and outscored the Golden Eagles 32-24 in points in the paint. Lipscomb shot 55.6% from the field and 48.3% on three’s in the contest. Williams was joined in double-figure scoring by Bisons Garrison Mathews (19), Nathan Moran (15), Aaron Korn (14), and Kenny Cooper (10).
The Bisons will seek to avenge their loss to Belmont this coming Tuesday, but they face a stiff test before that against Tennessee State at home on Saturday. Alexander insists that his team won’t be looking forward to the much-anticipated rivalry game.
“We’ve got a huge challenge ahead of us on Saturday. TSU is really athletic and really well-coached. We’ll get blitzed if we don’t play better.”
Lipscomb tips it against Tennessee State at 4 p.m. in Allen Arena on Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics