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Strong second half propels Bisons to 94-74 win

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What a difference 20 minutes can make.

“This is a hard team to figure out,” said Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson. “I didn’t say anything differently before the game than I said at halftime.

“I may have said it with a different tone, but I didn’t say anything differently. We devoted our energy on the defensive end of the floor to create offense. It was the second time we have scored 60 points in the second half and our defense created it. “

After playing a less than impressive 20 minutes in the first half against SIU Edwardsville Thursday night at Allen Arena, the Bisons took control in the second and rolled to a 94-74 win. It was the first win in three games for the Bisons on their home court.

It was the 250th win in Sanderson’s career.

“We dropped down and guarded some people in the second half,” said Sanderson. “I liked us better man-to-man in the second half.

“I thought a lot of guys were very good defensively, but I thought Brandon Brown was excellent. He was getting steals on the backside. I thought he covered a lot of ground.”

The Bisons had trailed 42-34 at the half. They have trailed at halftime in every game this season.

“We have not put together two halves this season,” said Sanderson. “We haven’t been winning a game at halftime this year. Our guys know how to play from behind.”

Sanderson has been looking for consistency on defense. He thought his Bisons started out the game with a strong defensive effort.

“We were bad offensively to start the game,” said Sanderson. “We were three-of-13 in the first few minutes with 10 turnovers. We tried to shoot too quickly. The first few minutes they didn’t score either.”

The Bisons opened the final 20 minutes of the game with a 9-0 run and never looked back. They continued to pressure the Cougars as center Adnan Hodzic, forward Brian Wright and Brown all put in strong second half performances offensively. The Bisons trailed 52-51 with 12:24 left to play before going on a 16-0 run to seal the game.

Hodzic led with a game-high 20 points. Wright scored a season-high 19 points. Brown added 17 points. Also in double figures for the Bisons were guard Jordan Burgason with 12 and guard Josh Slater with 11, all in the second half.

Guard Johnny Lee also had a season-high in points with eight.

“We played against their set defense the whole time,” said Sanderson. “SIUE does a very good job of scouting.

“They understand personnel. They know where guys are. They try to take your strengths away.”

The Bisons outscored SIU Edwardsville 60-32 in the second half.

“I thought we got a lot of baskets in the open floor in the second half,” said Sanderson. “We did a better job of moving the basketball and getting the ball where we needed to get it too in the second half.”

It was the first win for the Bisons on their home court this season and their second defeat of SIU Edwardsville, 2-7, this season.

The Bisons, 3-5, will be back at Allen Arena Saturday night at 7 to face Oakland City University in the last home game before the Christmas break.

“We’ll keep practicing and working at it,” said Sanderson. “Eventually it will click. We are not going to be the best right now, and we are obviously not. We have a lot of work left to improve.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations