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Sanderson expects a higher level of defensive intensity
Adnan Hodzic
Adnan Hodzic

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Lipscomb Bisons defense has been pretty offensive to coach Scott Sanderson.

His Bisons can score points with the best of them in the conference. They lead the Atlantic Sun overall with 78.7 points per game. Defensively, however, they are last in the conference allowing 75.9 points per game.

In the 10 games the Bisons have won in the conference they have allowed an average of 68 points. In the six games the Bisons have lost in the conference they have given up 81 points per game. Teams are shooting 42 percent against us when the Bisons win and 53 percent when the Bisons lose.

“That’s a significant difference,” Sanderson said. “Offensively, we are scoring. When we win we score an average of 79 points. When we lose we score 77.

“It’s one thing and that is we have to be committed to defending on every possession. And we have not done that on a consistent basis.”

The Bisons have four games left in the regular season starting Thursday night at 6:30 when they visit Florida Gulf Coast in Alico Arena in Fort Myers, Fla. The Bisons are 13-12 overall. Florida Gulf Coast is 7-19, 4-13 in the A-Sun.

“At this juncture of the season it is more about is than who we are playing,” Sanderson said. “Florida Gulf Coast is obviously very, very talented. They haven’t won a lot of games, but they have been in every single game.”

Sanderson is willing to bench players who fail to play defense at the highest possible level. He is going to do what it takes to make sure every player on the team is paying attention on the defensive end of the court.

“I want to win all four of them,” Sanderson said. “But at the same time we are trying to get prepared for March and the tournament. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get somebody’s attention.

“We are not going to shut a team out. We aren’t going to hold a team to zero. But there has to be a sense of urgency on every possession by everybody. If we don’t get that then the best motivator in the world is to set a player on the bench.”

The defensive inconsistency has been something the Bisons have been working on since preseason. Sanderson is frustrated that it is still an issue.

“You would think with the four-game schedule we have left that the focus would be there,” Sanderson said. “We have had three practices in the last three days.

“I thought the focus was there for two of them and in one of them it wasn’t. That is where we been this year in our consistency on defense. We understand what we are supposed to be doing. We should be consistently better than we are right now.”

Sanderson has always been a proponent of a strong defense. It is an area of focus every day in practice.

“We have to concentrate,” Sanderson said. “We have to say we are going to do this. The problem is that you can have four guys defending and one guy breaks down. That’s all it takes.

“We have to have all five guys on the same page for as many possessions as you possibly can. If one guy breaks down then the whole team breaks down.”

The Bisons are led by center Adnan Hodzic with 21.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Guard Josh Slater is averaging 17.1 points. Guard Jordan Burgason is chipping in 12.6 per game. Forward Brandon Brown is scoring 11.5 per game.

Florida Gulf Coast is led by freshman forward Anthony Banks with 13.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Junior guard Reed Baker is averaging 11 points per game.

“We are saying the same things today that we were saying back in October,” Sanderson said. “If there is one thing that is going to cause a problem it is going to be on the defensive end of the floor.

“Offensively, our numbers have been pretty consistent across the board. When we get beat it is because a problem defensively has reared its head.”

The Bisons play Stetson Saturday night at 6 in Deland, Fla., in the final road game of the regular season.

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