The Lipscomb Bisons have closed out the first half of the Atlantic Sun round robin schedule, and coach Scott Sanderson is going to make sure his players start out the second half stronger than they finished the first.
The Bisons fell 86-82 to Campbell Saturday afternoon at Allen Arena in a game that was a dogfight from start to finish. It was the second home loss in a row for the Bisons.
Sanderson expected the second half of the season to be tough, but with a pair of home losses in Atlantic Sun play, the road to a regular season championship becomes filled with bigger potholes.
“Every game is going to go down to the wire,” Sanderson said. “We are going to have to be able to get stops, rebound the ball and make good decisions down the stretch. We haven’t done those things in the last two games.”
The Bisons fall to 9-10 overall, 6-4 in the conference. Campbell, winning for the second year in a row on the Bisons home court, are 12-6, 7-2 in the A-Sun.
The second installment of the “Battle of the Boulevard” is next for the Bisons. They will be at the Curb Event Center Tuesday night at 6. The game will be shown live on CSS.
Offense has seldom been a problem for the Bisons, but they are going to have to get some help in the scoring department. In the Campbell game junior center Adnan Hodzic and junior guard Josh Slater with 26 points apiece and sophomore guard Jordan Burgason with 19 accounted for all but 11 points.
Only two other Bisons scored in the game with sophomore forward Brian Wright connecting for six and junior forward Michael Teller adding five.
The Bisons shot 52 percent from the field for the game.
“We have to have some other guys stepping up other than Josh, Jordan and Adnan,” Sanderson said.
After Friday’s practice Sanderson was worried that his players had not been able to put Thursday’s 71-69 loss to ETSU behind them.
“I don’t know if it still on their minds, but they are going to have to get over it,” Sanderson said. “Everybody has tough losses. Good teams bounce back. Obviously, we didn’t.”
The Camels took a 70-69 lead with 4:23 left and never gave up the advantage on the way to the win.
From 11:38 until 9:38 the Bisons held on to a one-point lead. With 8:45 remaining Campbell led for the first time in the second half on a lay-up by forward William Kossangue to make it 61-60.
Campbell would lead by one again, 63-62 on a jump shot in the paint by Jonathan Rodriguez with 8:07 left.
Slater connected on a 3-pointer to put the Bisons back up by two, 65-63 with 7:51 on the clock.
Both teams swapped points the final six-and-one-half minutes of the game with neither team leading by more than two down the stretch until Campbell opened up a five-point lead, 77-72, with 2:13 to play.
The Bisons battled to remain on top in the second half.
Campbell pulled within three points of the Bisons at 15:07 cutting the score to 51-48.
The Bisons biggest lead of the second half was eight points, 56-48, when Slater hit a pair of free throws with 13:47 remaining.
The Camels once again trimmed the lead to three, 56-53, on a 3-pointer by forward Jonathan Rodriguez with 12:29 left in the game.
After jumping out to an early lead the Bisons saw their 12-10 advantage with 14:21 left in the first half become a 14-12 Campbell lead. The Camels would remain in control in the first half until Teller hit a 3-pointer with 4:41 on the clock to give the Bisons a 33-31 lead.
The Bisons would never trail again in the game. Sparked by the 3-point shooting of Burgason, who had 15 first points, and Hodzic with 12, the Bisons held a 44-39 lead at the half.
Campbell, winning for the second year in a row at Allen Arena, placed four players in double figures. Rodriguez tied with Slater and Hodzic for the game high with 26 points. Guard Miles Taylor scored 14 followed by guard Lorne Merthie with 13 and guard Junard Hartley added 11.
Campbell shot 60 percent in the second half, 51.1 percent for the game. Campbell held a 34-17 advantage on the boards.
“In the second half we weren’t getting stops,” Sanderson said. “Taylor drove the base line a million times. When we did get stops we didn’t get rebounds.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations