The Bisons lost 68-67 to Mercer Feb. 26 here at the University Center. Thursday night at 8 the two teams will meet again in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Sun Tournament. The Bisons, 17-12 overall, 12-8 in the A-Sun, are the No. 4 seed. Mercer, 14-17, 11-9, is the No. 5 seed.
On Dec. 4 the Bisons opened the A-Sun portion of the season with a 77-65 win over Mercer at Allen Arena.
The two teams have an A-Sun Tournament history. In 2006 and 2007 the Bisons knocked Mercer out of the tournament in the first round.
“I don’t ever like getting beat, but this is a situation where we could learn from it, make corrections and play again,” Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. “We have had to make adjustments and Mercer is all we have been concentrating on this week.”
Sanderson stressed there were many lessons to be learned from the Mercer loss.
“The only thing we did well in that game was rebound,” Sanderson said of the 40-27 differential on the boards. “We didn’t execute our game plan. We didn’t play defense. We didn’t shoot the ball well.”
The Bisons are 4-4 overall in games at the University Center and have lost their last two. The Bisons, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, lost 72-69 to Kennesaw State at the University Center in the quarterfinals last season. The Bisons are 4-6 in the tournament since 2005 and play as the No. 4 seed for the third time.
“I would anticipate we will play better against Mercer this time,” Sanderson said. “But I didn’t anticipate us playing the way we played last Saturday against Mercer.
“We are approaching Mercer Thursday just like it is the championship game. We can’t look at these three games in the tournament as a group.”
The Bisons are led by center Adnan Hodzic and guard Josh Slater, both Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team selections this season. Hodzic needs only seven points to reach 2,000 for his career.
Hodzic is second in the A-Sun overall in scoring with 18 points per game. Slater is fourth with 16.5 points. Hodzic is second in the conference in rebounding with 7.5 per game and Slater is 10th with 6.1. Also in double figures in scoring for the Bisons is guard Jordan Burgason with 10.6.
Slater is second in the nation in steals with 3.2 per game.
While several of the Bisons are having solid years Sanderson is still searching for consistency from his team.
“For whatever reasons we have been inconsistent, especially on defense,” Sanderson said. “Game day is like an exam. You can prepare but you have to carry that preparation over into game day.
“We have practiced well and played well and we have practiced well and not played well. Our practices have been consistent. We have to put it all together on game day.”
The Bisons lead the series with Mercer 12-5 and are 8-2 in the last five seasons. The win by Mercer last Saturday ended a five-game winning streak in the series for the Bisons.
“Whether we lost that last game with Mercer or not we better have an edge this time around,” Sanderson said. “It is all about Thursday.”
A win would advance the Bisons into a semifinal game with top-seeded Belmont Friday.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.